Brad Blake, Director of New Media and Online Strategy
If you can’t tell by my title, I’m kind of “into” new media (social media, web 2.0, etc). Like many others, I believe in the power of the these new tools and technologies to connect people to each other and to their government in ways that were previously very difficult or impossible due to distance, time, and simple access to information.
In the Governor’s Office, in addition to our official website full of deep and broad information, we work our tails off to better include people in their government via social media. We manage a Twitter account where the Governor and members of his staff share information, thoughts and ideas and respond to constituent and media questions. We have a robust YouTube channel where we post direct messages from the Governor, clips of questions and answers from Town Hall Meetings, and answers to video questions. We’ve begun a series of Commonwealth Conversations Blogs, including this one, to talk about issues around public health, transportation, innovation, jobs and more. We post photos to Flickr, make information available via RSS feeds, and more. This past spring, we lead an online community forum where citizens, the Governor, and senior members of his administration openly discussed issues around revenue, transportation, ethics and pension reform. And that’s just the start. We’ve been working with many of our state agencies to use social media to better connect and inform.
We’ve come a long way, but I still sometimes hear from friends and family, “I don’t really know what the Governor and his administration are doing,” or they repeat short headlines they’ve heard. They’re unaware of the ways, both online and off, that they can stay informed, plug in, and influence the policies that affect their lives. Of course, this can be frustrating to hear, but it also tells me we need to be constantly re-examining what we’re already doing and looking for ways to do it better.
So, you’re here, you’ve found this blog and (hopefully) are still reading this post. If you didn’t know about some of the ways we’re using social media, you do now. What are we doing well? What could we be doing better? How can we let people know that all of this information and tools for connection and input are out there?