On the heels of a previous post about government and social media and in light of one of my former jobs as a Naval Officer I thought it would be good to take a look at how the U.S. Navy is currently engaging the social Web.
Helena Dobbins from over at Campbell-Ewald (U.S. Navy is a client of theirs) connected with me last week to provide some insight on various ways the Navy is utilizing social media. Turns out, a lot more than I had originally known about. Currently, the Navy has a presence on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and Ning.
* There is strong branding and a solid approach on their YouTube channel, dividing video content into various topical playlists. Though some of the videos tend to be quite long, the Featured Careers playlist provides nice insight into some of the various job opportunities the Navy has to offer. In addition, the Navy Visual News Service is definitely working hard to make sure their content is present on as many platforms as possible.
* I also like how they’ve drilled down to using a Facebook page to focus on providing information and answering questions about medical careers in the Navy with this U.S. Navy Healthcare page. For a number of reasons, brands are struggling to maximize use of Facebook but this works because it focuses specifically on targeted, niche recruitment and providing a channel for easy, immediate feedback.
* Double kudos to the Navy for their Ning-hosted Navy for Moms networking site. Moms are of course a key online demographic and Navy Moms in particular happen to be the most passionate people out there (believe me, having a father that was a Navy pilot and an older brother that was a Navy submarine officer, I can attest…they’re passionate). With nearly 13,000 members and an open forum for communication and easy networking among Moms, this site is only going to continue to flourish.
If you’ve ever used Ning, you know it can be an incredible resource for feedback and input. In particular, I found this discussion thread to be quite interesting in helping the Navy get feedback on how members have found out about their Navy Moms site. This information will certainly help them focus on key areas of the Web to bolster promotion and drive traffic back to the site.
As more and more content creators surface on the social Web, new communities similar to Navy Moms will continue to evolve. Already, random people have taken it upon themselves to create Navy Wives, Navy Dads and Navy Veterans sites. It will behoove the Navy to embrace these existing communities and engage in exisiting conversations without trying to branch off and recreate the same communities on their own for the sake of message control.
* Aside from the tools above, kudos to the Navy for setting up social media guidelines from the start to guide service members’ online engagement practices. This is an important first step that can otherwise cascade into a host of problems if not addressed from the very beginning.
All around, this is a solid approach for such a large government organization and I look forward to tracking the Navy’s future online endeavors.
Once in awhile I like to take a look at how social media is being utilized by government and politicians. It’s not often, but hey, it’s nailed me an Associate Professor position at the best online social media university (when’s that first paycheck coming Lee?).
On a serious note, today is a monumental, historic day. Like it or not, politics affect us all. I’m the first to admit that I’m only a quarter as political savvy as my co-workers (what can I say, they’re a very smart bunch) but the last couple years have drawn me in with a new level of engagement that I never expected. Regardless of your political views, it’s exciting, it’s fresh, it’s new, it’s CHANGE. We’re all in this together and as a nation, today marks a new direction.
Though not everyone can jam into D.C. to take part in the festivities, social media will help us all connect in real-time throughout the day. Twitter has doubled it’s capacity for the day as they anticipate a slew of Tweets. I’m sure there are a variety of hashtags being used to track converstation throughout the day, but here’s one to follow #inauguration. In addition, here’s a few other ways to stay connected with the day’s big event.
Last but not least, if you really want to show support today, be sure to check out Obamicon.Me. Put together by one of my favorite music magazines, the site allows you to quickly upload a photo, Obama-nize it and share anywhere you’d like.
Enjoy the day,
I’ve always been intrigued by how Government would adopt social media.
Having worked as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy, I’m privy to the heavy bureaucratic constraints that often make it seem darn near impossible to push projects along and meet deadlines. Our communications process and structure in the Navy was very defined.
Working for a mid-size communications firm, it’s incredible to compare the two scenarios in terms of how fast and fluid I can now make things happen. I have high hopes for how Obama will help shape and influence Government’s adoption of the social Web. He did an amazing job during his campaign and continues to find ways to churn up old school presidential communication models. I’m also realistic…after all, there’s just a few things going on in our nation and the world at the moment.
That being said, there are already impressive steps being taken by parts of Government to adopt social media and I’ll be very curious to look back at the end of Obama’s administration to see how things have evolved. Mark Drapeau did a brilliant post last week on Government 2.0 identifying social media’s potential role in transforming government communication processes. Mark introduces the interesting idea of I3 (indirect, intimate influence) as a model for Government to embrace individual supporters as brand ambassadors throughout the Web.
As for now, all signs point up. As David Meerman Scott notes in his post, the U.S. Air Force is actively embracing Twitter and has been earning a good deal of cred across the Web for creating this blog assessment flowchart. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army seem a bit more reserved but are at least researching and figuring out the best way to take next steps to embrace the dynamic Web.
It also looks like there are a host of politicians hopping on Twitter, recognizing the value of connecting with their constituents in a more accessible format. I’m sure the degree to which these politicians or their staff tweeters are effectively utilizing the site varies across the board, but it’s progress.
What’s your take? Do you have suggestions to help government adopt and embrace the social Web?