FFPS 418 C4P3

16 Jun

Social Computing Strategy:

Medium-Sized City’s Public Works Department

Introduction

                In light of the advancing technology of social media applications and the many apparent uses and benefits, Medium-sized City’s Public Works Department has begun the process of implementing social computing into our daily activities in order to better serve our citizen’s and empower our employees. This document will serve as the foundation for successful implementation and continued evolution of our social computing program in order to maintain pace in the rapidly advancing social landscape.

Supporting Our Organization

                Utilizing social media will assist our department in the fulfillment of many organizational level goals. One of the key focuses will be to provide our citizens with a platform to engage in two-way dialogue. This will help our organization fulfil its goal of reaching out to our citizens in order to understand their concerns regarding the services we provide. Providing periodic updates on large-scale projects has consistently been a challenge through conventional media, and one that we will address with our social computing program.  Another goal that will be addressed by social computing is the ability to engage our employees in dialogue that supports the advancement of the business processes.

Social Computing Process

                During the initial implementation and also during any future additions to the social computing program, the first step will be listening to our intended audience and utilizing this information to enter the appropriate social medium with meaningful content. Performing this step will allow us to engage our citizens in their social media of choice. Following this step, it is important to consider the limitations placed upon our department by fiscal and time constraints. Compromises will have to be made and the most effective forms of engagement chosen due to the fact that our organization does not have the ability to devote fulltime staffers to the social computing program.

Current Plan

                At this point, our organization has decided to utilize three applications: Facebook, Twitter, and Google Aps for Government. Each application, its uses, and reasons for utilization are detailed below.

                Facebook. As the largest social network, Facebook provides the ability to post content in the form or text, pictures, and videos. (Pew, 2014) This network allows for public dialogue and also private messaging. This will be our department’s largest outlet for discussion to reach the majority of our citizens. The major focus of this site will be to provide our citizens with up to date information regarding the services and projects we are currently providing and/or working to complete. We will also use this as a forum to gather public opinion regarding pending and upcoming decisions regarding our services. This application presents the opportunity to become a more involved and more useful provider of services to the citizens we serve

                Twitter. Similar to Facebook as far as the type of information that can be posted, however, Twitter limits its posts to 140 characters. This micro-blogging site boasts more than 600 million users and one of the farthest reaching social networks in the United States. (Leverage, 2014) Our department will use Twitter as a way to provide updates regarding pending services to our citizens. During times of distress or during times of inclement weather, Twitter is a fast and easy way to communicate with our citizens. This is a similar service to our current text messaging program we use internally to provide updates to our employees and will replicate this service for the public’s convenience. This will greatly enhance our department’s ability to transmit real-time data to our citizens for their reassurance.

                Google Apps for Government. This application will provide an opportunity for collaboration within our department. Google Apps for Government consists of a range of products from hosted email to team sites. We will utilize the internal communication aspects of this to empower all of our employees to voice their opinions and experiences regarding the services we are providing and the ways in which the services are provided. In doing so, we hope to refine our systems and processes to better serve the citizens of our community.

Implementation Concerns

                We are currently tasked with entering the social networking world in an expedited time frame. During this time, we will have to provide appropriate levels of training to all users in order to ensure compliance with our city’s published social media guidance policy and code of conduct. By performing this training, all employees will have the knowledge to properly utilize social media and promote acceptable content and tone across these mediums. In order to safeguard future compliance, we will provide quarterly refresher training.

                An additional concern that has been acknowledged is the lack of computer access at work. Each of the applications that will be utilized to promote internal collaboration will be available via mobile devices. This not only promotes usage, it is also added convenience for all of our employees. The ability to utilize the mobile devices for the communication will present a security issue that will need to be addressed by our information technology department to ensure the security of our network.

Measurement of Success

                The goal of our external communications is to develop farther reach for our communications within our community.  Our city hall meetings have well established statistics concerning meeting attendance/engagement. Using this data, we can compare the effectiveness of our social media sites in reaching beyond this attendance rate and engaging with our citizens. We will gauge reach based off the number of views/followers/likes on the given media. Our engagement will be measured based off the number of comments or retweets of our information.  Continued growth will be monitored monthly or more often to ensure that our efforts to promote social media is working effectively.

                Internal communication via Google Apps for Government will be monitored for activity. We currently utilize a text messaging service to provide one-way dialogue. We will monitor the new system for activity that exceeds that of our current system. Regular monitory of activity levels will show the level of commitment to embedding this system into the business processes. Continual growth will be expected as the system is being implemented with an eventual plateau as the system matures.

Conclusion

                Utilizing the plan contained within this document as a framework, Medium-sized City’s Public Works Department will begin to implement the social computing strategy. The goals of this strategy are to expand the reach of the department’s communications to previously underserved populations of the community, create higher levels of engagement from the members of the community, and empower the employees to create more efficient business processes. By following the steps outlined above, the Public Works Department has a high probability of success of accomplishing the above goals while maintaining alignment with the City leadership’s overall goals for the department.

 

 

References

Leverage. (2014, April 28). Social Media Comparison Infographic. Leverage New Age Media. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from https://leveragenewagemedia.com/blog/social-media-infographic/

Pew. (2013, December 27). Social Networking Fact Sheet. Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

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