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Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.
We reported last year that the Treasury Board Secretariat had published a new Guide for External Use of Web 2.0; the United States Government recently followed in the same vein by publishing Social Media Metrics for Federal Agencies. As this document points out, "agencies are using social media to share information and deliver service quickly and effectively than ever before. (...) Social media in government increasingly requires accurate, targeted performance analysis to ensure we're taking full advantage of these tools to deliver better service and engage with our customers." The guide presents a set of "recommended, baseline social media metrics", which aim to "establish a common, yet customizable approach to analyzing social data using the most cost-effective methods available."
In the first part of the document, the raison d'être of social media is described as sharing information, listening to citizens and engaging citizens to improve public services. It is also underscored that since each agency has a set of specific strategic objectives, it should also have a unique social media strategy. The benefits are expected to include:
In the second part of the document, the social media metrics that the agencies can analyze fall within seven main categories:
The third part of the document describes baseline social media metrics for each category. Mainstream social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, are included. Additional resources are provided in Part 4 of the document.
We note that the American publication was working at a level beyond the challenges raised by the Treasury Board Secretariat Guidelines in using social media and Web 2.0 for government communication. However, the question of whether the challenges raised by the TBS Guide are overlooked in the American document because the American government has already overcome them or because they are not the focus of this publication remains unclear.
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