By Chuqing

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest,Tumblr, and other social media services have changed the rules of engagement. Now we are pleased to see more government agencies are realizing the significant role that social media tools play in improving employee relationships and civic engagement.

This week, Carolyn Parnell, the Minnesota’s Chief Information Officer, and Jenna Covey, who works for Governor Dayton’s office on social media techniques joined our class on September 18 and shared their insights about how the state government agencies effectively use social media tools to reach out big communities and provide better social services.

Technology Engagement

Now there are 95 agencies and councils in state have independent ways for doing IT consolidation. IT plays a pivotal role. Technology engagement is not just about technology, it is IT communication, which is about people, the relationships with citizens. How can we find efficiencies? how to get messages out? how to encourage innovative ideas from employees? Those are the questions government agencies should consider for the use of social media techniques.

Want to know more about solutions for state and local governments effectively using technology?

Here is a good website: created by Kristy, who is known as “GovGirl” in the government technology industry.

Goals for 2013

  • Opening data resource to the society

Data is a huge enterprises assets, also is the state’s assets. Now a group of data geeks, geographic officers and consultants are working on a white paper that recommends more opening data shares on a commissioner lever. Through partnership with third parties, the state government can get many accesses to customer data, website or mobile apps.

  • Launch innovation program

More time and money will be invested into innovation program looking for innovative methods to attract people’s attentions online. This will also be a good opportunities providing IT employees to contribute community building. The ideal scale would be to create an online community that everyone can see and comment and get more engaged with state affairs. In this way, the state governors can hear citizen’s voice, better understand their needs and provide better services.

  • Internal communication

There still many agencies do not allow people use twitter in their office hours. Actually those social media tools can be a creative approach to promote internal communications. How to make employees feel that they are included in the tread and how to encourage 30000 gover be happier to contribute innovative idea to build online community are the questions government agencies should think about.


Data privacy is always the big issue in openly sharing government’ data, partly because of the state departments do not have a unified legislative social media policy. Carolyn mentioned the state is implementing Microsoft 365 because of the data privacy issue with other third parties, and they are still looking for better online communication method to improve communicating and sharing with secure privacy protection.

Another challenge is lack of maintenance. There are not many professional people or team in state government agencies are work specifically on social media. “We need more people to work on the engagement with people on facebook, twitter, email followers to maintain a healthy and stable relationship.” Jenna said

How do we know the efficiency?

Without goals and goal values you are not doing web analytics, you are doing web iamwastingyourlifeandminelytics.—Avinash Kaushik

Does 2000 visitors necessarily mean you have 2000 participants? That is a problem occurs to many organizations. How do we know whether we are efficiently using social media tools?

There are some comprehensive social analytics tools can help us reach the goals:

Facebook Insights can provide measurements on your Page’s performance.

Find anonymized demographic data about your audience, and see how people are discovering and responding to your posts

  • Google Analytics

Google Analytics can provide you a report with detailed statistics about your website’s traffic and traffic sources, the basic service is free.

Other resources:

MN.IT Services:

Twitter Analytics: