Social media is no longer just a platform for friends and associates to interact with one another. Governments are getting into the act real fast, using social media websites for maintaining communications channels between different internal divisions and citizens. Quite recently, the US Government used social networking to interact with citizens and work towards developing better policies in 5 different situations. These are:
- Oil Spill – Gulf of Mexico: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) turned to social media to keep citizens informed about the steps undertaken to combat this national disaster. Lisa Jackson, Administrator of EPA, used her Twitter account @LisaPJackson and page on Facebook to share updated news about the incident along with her observations. Even the agency was quick to set up a website, along with a dedicated Twitter account and a Facebook page to keep citizens informed about their latest efforts.
- Storm Reporting: Certain emergency management agencies like FEMA and Department of Emergency Management, Virginia (VDEM) have been using Twitter to interact with citizens for quite some time now. The National Weather Service has also gotten into the act now, requesting users from all over the nation to send reports about possible storms. All the users have to do is send a geo-enabled tweet with the hashtag #wxreport to get the information to the NWS.