The Department of Commerce plans on utilizing social networks more, with hopes of staying in line with popular and widely used technology. As more and more people flock to online sources for news and other information, The Department of Commerce recognizes the need to make it’s own info accessible through online distribution methods. So far the plans include an online presence on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
This is not the first government-associated online effort, with several organizations following similar tactics for increasing transparency and better engaging members of the population. What several organizations are realizing is the ability to better convey information to the people that need it, using things like Twitter to send out updates, announcements and the like.
On the one hand, this process makes it easier for everyone else to keep up with particular news or story items they are following. On the other hand, organizations are better able to see what the public thinks of them, especially for the purpose of addressing ongoing concerns or to deal with any overwhelming sentiment that may be spreading across the social web (which could be good or bad).
For The Department of Commerce in particular, building out its social presence has been a long time coming, as many other organizations have long since turned to social networking for the purpose of becoming more transparent and communicative with the public at large. As The Department of Commerce deals with a number of issues that overlap with consumers’ actual use of the social web, I think it’s quite important for the organization to have a social presence, if only to understand the evolving process of how information is now carried across the web.
Also dealing with job growth in the U.S., The Department of Commerce has a vested interest in building out its web presence as its primary focus is a heavy topic of discussion for the entire nation. Anything of this magnitude is heavily involved with online social discussions, especially on Twitter.
As with many other government-related organizations, the major concern with moving into a socially-driven space is the lessening of control over security and shared information. The Department of Commerce hopes to avoid any issues, but it could focus on creating a restricted form of public access on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
Most social networks have also developed features specifically designed for businesses that wish to focus on pushing out information, creating an access page for other network members to use as a resource. To this end, social networks have realized the potential behind this particular form of communication, slowly building out a stand-alone marketplace for businesses and organizations to create a hub within a given social networking environment.
As Flickr, Twitter and Facebook have all increased their accessibility through search engines, The Department of Commerce can also take advantage of social networks for the purpose of becoming more discoverable. In the past few weeks both Twitter and Facebook have made advancements through various partnerships with search engines including Microsoft Bing and Google, making it easier for those even outside of social networks to access organizational information.