Every so often I am asked to share some thoughts on social media, transportation communications, public involvement and other topics that we tend to tackle here at Talking Transportation. Wednesday was one of those days and it was a delightful 90 minutes or so of hearing about powerful social media tools and ongoing transportation-focused social media research that is underway.
“Social Media and ITS,” sponsored by Thinking Highways included presentations by several experts in research and transportation issues including Larry Ehl, publisher of Transportation Issues Daily, and Andy Palisanamy, well-known among social media folks as @TranspoGooru. I won’t rehash too much here, but I encourage you to check out a recording of the webinar. You will need to register your name and email address, but I think the content is worth it.
My portion of the session focused on why social media is an important communication strategy for my employer, AASHTO, and state departments of transportation.
There are definitely many ways in which social media have become critically important to state DOTs and AASHTO. This particular presentation explores research showing the expanding participation by people of all age groups, including those over 50. And, it features research into Americans’ changing news consumption habits that found 50% of public cite the internet as their main news source.
For those of us regularly using social networks and for those who enjoy discovering new communication tools, all of these insights might be rather mundane. But do not take for granted that changing media consumption and personal information sharing via social networks is forever changing the way in which we share messages and the way the public expects government agencies to function.