State DOTs Use of Social Media Evolving

“We’re seeing a slow steady gain in Twitter and Facebook followers. We’re seeing more and more people asking questions, sharing comments and airing concerns via these two mediums.” – State DOT survey respondent

An interesting thing has happened during the past year since the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) conducted its annual survey of state DOTs’ use of social media. What had been novel, new and uncertain has now become a standard part of how state transportation agencies communicate with their stakeholders. (Full disclosure: AASHTO is my employer and I work regularly and closely with state DOT communication staffs on a variety of topics and issues, including social media.)

AASHTO for the third year asked states about their use of social media tools, looking for trends and innovations. The full report and results are posted at the AASHTO TransComm website. And, a few survey findings were far from surprising. Just less than 90 percent of states are using Twitter. More than three-fourths of states are using Facebook.

Most significantly is the level of engagement the states reported through Twitter and Facebook. Gone are the days of the automated status updates, although admittedly a few states still use automation for traffic updates. Instead, states are describing an increased level of personal comments – both by the DOTs and the citizens they serve.

The AASHTO report has additional observations that we will discuss here later this month. Meanwhile, a full listing of state DOT social media accounts is now available from AASHTO and that listing is included as an appendix to the annual social media survey report.

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Author: Lloyd Brown

I am the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, playing guitar and spending time with family. My professional interest is in how social media and new technology shapes the communication relationship between government and the general public. I have a Master’s degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University.

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