Friday, October 31, 2008

Social Media's Slow Roll in Government

"Social media outlets are catching on slowly (among federal government IT decision-makers). Yet, this will change as the government workforce turns over and gets younger."

Lisa Dezzutti, President and CEO
Market Connections

This was perhaps the most relevant point I picked up this morning at an event to introduce a new market research study entitled “"2008 Federal Media and Marketing Survey.” Research shop Market Connections and Sara Leiman of Sage Communications queried 2,500 federal employees – both civilian and DoD/intelligence -- to gain an understanding of the sources they rely on for industry information and best practices. (Image: Lisa Dezzutti, Market Connections)

Here are a couple of highlights from their presentation:

1. The most widely read trade publications

-Government Executive (50%)
-Federal Computer Week (43%)
-Federal Times (38%)
-Government Computer News (36%)
-Defense News (27%)

2. The most frequently visited Web sites (41%) (37%) (36%) (27%)

3. Social media engagement

-Reading blogs (13%)
-Participating in social networks (4%)
-Writing a blog (4%)

Admittedly, I find the current level of social media participation among federal decision-makers to be disappointing. It’s consistent though with what we are experiencing with our public sector focused clients and validates the importance of implementing a mix of public relations, marketing and business development programs.

I also agree completely with Market Connections’ Dezzutti assertion that social media adoption in government will continue to accelerate. Yes, it will occur as many federal employees retire and a younger workforce takes shape.

However, there is also a clearer understanding in government that citizens now expect to engage via social networks, online communities and electronic correspondence. The continued success Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) client GovDelivery has experienced with the adoption of their Email and digital subscription management platform is evidence of this trend.


Christopher Dorobek said...

Great post... and I think you are right on the money. My perception is that many of these Web 2.0 things will be additive. But we are still new to all of this, right?

Steve Lunceford said...

Yeah, I'm a little surprised by the adoption rates given all the positive traction that seems to be happening in the market right now.

I believe we are on the cusp of finding what works and what doesn't from a social perspective in govt. and that we could see this simply ramp up rapidly over the next 12-18 months. Many of today's "social experiments" may morph into must-use tools for sharing and collaboration sooner rather than later.

Steve O'Keeffe said...

Interesting study. Could you confirm the sample size and composition? You note that you queried 2,500 -- how many responded? What job titles and area of focus are represented -- IT or general government? Do you have an age crosstab? What was the breakdown DoD/civilian/intel?

Thank you in advance.

Marc Hausman said...

@Steve - the survey was conducted by a research firm called Market Communications. During the event, they did share specific about sample size and composition, yet I don't have that in my notes.

My suggestion is to connect with them via their Web site at

Hope that helps.