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The report builds on Dr. Mergel’s previous two reports for the
IBM Center: Working the Network: A Manager’s Guide for
Using Twitter in Government, and Using Wikis in Government:
A Guide for Public Managers. This new report addresses the
key question of how government should measure the impact of
its social media use. This question is gaining increased attention
within government as agencies rely more heavily on social
media to interact with the public, including disseminating information
Many believe government has been successful in using social
media over the last decade. Social media has also greatly assisted
the current administration in fulfilling its Open Government
Initiative to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration.
Government managers now face the challenge of more
effectively measuring public participation and the impact of
social media outreach efforts. A key additional step involves the
development of a social media strategy for an agency.
While government currently focuses on “push” techniques to provide
information from government publications, Professor Mergel
speculates that the next big challenge will be to measure the
extent to which government actively engages the public to gain
access to citizen views and expertise. Professor Mergel envisions
increased bi-directional citizen participation in which agencies
actively “pull in” content through new forms of social media,
including crowdsourcing. In a recent IBM Center report, Using
Crowdsourcing in Government, Daren Brabham discusses how
government can tap into citizen knowledge via crowdsourcing.
In the report, Professor Mergel also provides guidance to government
managers on how they can more effectively make a
business case for using social media. The business case, states
Mergel, serves as a basis for management decisions to build
and allocate organizational capacity or initiate changes in its
social media strategy.
Given the rapidly increasing use of social media by government,
we hope that this timely report assists government managers in
assessing the impact of their social media activity.