I had a short e-mail based question and answer session with Richard James, who works for the Delaware Division of Libraries. He has been heavily involved with the Library’s social efforts, their efforts to deploy a Government 2.0 approach. I hope you find this helpful.
Q. Why do you use social media in your job? What are you looking to accomplish?
A. About two months ago I was at a meeting with webmasters from other state agencies. There is not a centralized authority for agency websites in Delaware in any meaningful sense, and we meet periodically to discuss technology trends and the like. At that meeting, there were only two or three webmasters in the room who expressed a favorable opinion regarding social media. I’d like to use social media as an example for more widespread acceptance, since we were an early adopter and haven’t encountered any problems. Otherwise, I mostly value social media as a method of efficiently communicating in both an informal and formal way with a broader constituent base, especially those who may be falling away from library use because of perceptions about relevance.
Q. How long have your been “social” for your job?
A. Division has had a blog for about 18 months, but migrated an official state-branded WordPress template in July 2009. This allowed us to be a featured link from the delaware.gov page, along with the Lieutenant Governor, who has a genuine blog, and one other agency. Reference library staff have used twitter as @askalibrarian for about six months to answer questions and stake out an authoritative presence, and we also use Delicious.com (delawarelibraries) to record useful and current reference and informative websites- delicious weblinks are integrated into our blog and also broadcast on twitter via twitterfeed. We have a passive presence on Facebook for about a year.
Q. What agencies, local or Federal, do you learn from? Who is doing it best?
A. Most examples I use are from early adopting public and academic libraries. When the state created its social media usage policy early in 2009, we did review a number of federal government policies- the armed forces were particularly relevant, as an example of innovation in extremely bureaucratic agencies.
What else would you have asked Richard about?