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Making the Most of Social Media: 7 Lessons from Successful Cities

The third in the series of the Fels Institute’s “Promising Practices” publications – Making the Most of Social Media: 7 Lessons from Successful Cities – is written for local governments—cities, counties, townships and their affiliates—that are beginning to experiment with social media and would like to get more out of them. More than two dozen early adopters were interviewed for this report, and their experiences offer some lessons to local governments about what sorts of tools social media offer, how to integrate them into a busy office, and how to use them creatively to be more effective.

The report includes a brief discussion of the growth of Social Media over the past several years, including the challenges associated with adopting them for public use – legal, practical and political. Despite these challenges, the public managers interviewed by Fels were bullish about their early experiments: in an environment of shrinking news rooms and fractured audiences, applications like Facebook and Twitter provide a cheap, efficient way to spread the “Good News” of local government.

In this report, Fels distills the experience of cities who have done this both more and less effectively into seven suggestions that cover the full cycle of adoption, from pre-planning to self-evaluation. We hope that this report will help public managers to put social media squarely at the service of work they are already accountable for, as part of a job they already know very well — and perhaps to help them to do that job even better.

Read the full report: https://www.fels.upenn.edu/sites/www.fels.upenn.edu/files/PP3_SocialMedia.pdf In addition to the report, a number of the interviews conducted for this publication by the Fels Institute were excerpted and folded into a podcast. For information on this or other Fels Research & Consulting reports, please contact Allison Brummel.

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