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Social Networking Guide | Introduction
Purpose and Introduction
The Department of Administrative Services offers this guide to   facilitate use of social media tools, or “Web 2.0,” by state agencies. Such tools can ease collaboration and information-sharing among agencies and the public they serve.  DAS’ goal is not to limit the use of social media Web services; rather, our goal is to provide effective and appropriate guidance on security, privacy controls, best practices, and other important issues. Use this guide to complement your agency’s internal plans for communications and community and media relations.

Social media technology gives agencies the opportunity to inform the media, the public and each other on matters of immediate importance. By using highly accessible Internet-based tools, users can create content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchanges (e.g., Blogger, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, etc.). 
No substitute exists for good writing, however. The best public servants appreciate that writing well is not a tiresome duty, but a necessity. We hope this guide helps you fulfill this necessity.
The decision to utilize Web 2.0 technology should be a business decision that comes from the appropriate level of your agency. The decision-maker should consider the agency’s mission, objectives, capabilities and potential benefits. If you are a state employee or contractor who creates or contributes to blogs, microblogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off the oregon.gov domain, these guidelines are applicable. State government expects all who participate in social media on its behalf to understand and follow these guidelines.

New Media Trends
According to a December 2008 survey from World Internet usage Statistics News and Population Stats, approximately 1.5 billion people currently use the Internet around the world (www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm). Web sites, e-mail, blogs, tweets, videos and images, message alerts, instant messaging, Facebook, voice chat, and other Internet-based technologies have begun to overtake the traditional media as primary information sources for a growing share of the world population.
Because of this trend, a major push is under way in government to provide information directly to the public via online media, rather than rely exclusively on traditional media. These media enable agencies to create an open and trasnparent environment while speeding delivery of important information to the public.
Consider these statistics:
Social Media
Unique Worldwide Visitors
222 million
200 million
126 million
In addition:
  • One in five Americans has listened to an audio Podcast.
  • One in three Americans has set up a profile on a social networking site. More than 40 percent of these people visit their sites at least once a day.
  • As of February 2009, Twitter had seven million unique visitors.
  • As of March 2009, YouTube had 89 million unique viewers in the U.S.
The table below shows that as of June 2008, some social networks have a greater appeal for specific age groups. (from http://www.newmedia.hhs.gov/resources/socialmedia101overview06-29-09.pdf, 2009)
(excerpted from: Social Media 101 Overview: The What and the Why, 2009)

Social Media Categories and Uses
Category (Example) 
Generally appropriate for…
Generally NOT appropriate when…
Aggregators (Digg)
Increasing the reach of a blog or other often-updated public site
Used to promote a static Web site
Blogging  (WordPress)
Telling a story, i.e., narrative writing (about a finite event or an ongoing issue/project)
There aren’t resources or content to post regularly
Content Syndication (RSS)
Sharing Web site content with others, highlighting often-updated site content
Used to promote a static Web site
Providing real-time updates; obtaining feedback; interacting at conferences, etc.
There aren’t resources to participate regularly (as in posting and responding)
Photo Sharing
Engaging with stakeholders and building community (e.g., for a specific event)
There aren’t resources to post photos of your work
Social Bookmarking  
Sharing multiple links with stakeholders (see Aggregators too)
Used to promote a static Web site.
Social Networks  
Engaging with stakeholders and building community; obtaining feedback
There aren’t resources to participate regularly (as in posting and responding)
Video Sharing 
Broadcasting events, interviews, tutorials, etc.; building community
The content could be expressed in a podcast (aka “talking head syndrome”)
(excerpted from: Social Media 101 Overview: The What and the Why, 2009)