TikTok Is More Popular Than Facebook, Should DOTs Follow?

It’s nearly 2020 and social media has been a thing for more than a decade. So it should surprise no one that social media trends come and go. There was MySpace, Vine, Meerkat, Google Plus , Friendster and … so many more platforms that have faded after promising starts that it is hard to remember them all.

Picking which new platforms are worth the time to learn and develop is a serious question for communications professionals, including those at state DOTs. There are only so many hours in a day, and smart managers have to understand their abilities and anticipate trends worth pursuing and those to ignore.

Continue reading “TikTok Is More Popular Than Facebook, Should DOTs Follow?”

Getting to ‘Know’: Tools Helping DOTs Reach People During Emergencies

Winter is coming and for state DOTs that means preparing to clear roads and assist motorists. Public information campaigns for years have focused on helping motorists “know before you go” by checking web sites and apps for the latest road condition and weather information. Additionally, officials have urged motorists to winterize their vehicles and to carry emergency supplies.

Traffic backed up on Interstate 5 in Vancouver, Wash., in Feb. 2019. Courtesy WSDOT licensed under CC BY 2.0.

But sometimes things happen – a sudden storm or natural disaster – that are so unforeseen that the transportation system is tied up and motorists are stranded. What communication strategies are in place for those situations?

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New AASHTO Report Shows State DOT Social Media Trends

smreportcoverIt was only a handful of years ago that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, my work-day employer, began polling its member state departments of transportation about their growing implementation of social media tools.

 

In 2009, less than half of states used Facebook and then most were tepid in their level of engagement. The dominant tool for state DOTs was Twitter, but it was used almost exclusively for sharing roadway traffic conditions and emergency information.

Continue reading “New AASHTO Report Shows State DOT Social Media Trends”

Sasquatch takes a walk, educates Oregonians on pedestrian crossings

There is no shortage of creativity in transportation communications. In this example, the folks at Oregon Department of Transportation and Metro – the Portland area regional government – turned to a Northwest icon to help educate motorists about pedestrian crossings.

Tuning In: Pokemon Go #Safety Message

Not every current event is appropriate for a transportation social media feed. But the folks at Washington State Department of Transportation continue to show off their deft ability to connect with their audiences by tying in with the latest Pokemon game.

Release July 7, Pokemon Go challenges players to find Pokemon characters – in the real world. So basically, people are walking around – or worse driving around – looking for these virtual characters. Clearly, a word of safety advice is in order here, right?

Here’s the tweet from @wsdot:

And before you think that WSDOT was just overly opportunistic, consider this item posted on Vine: (editor’s note: the Vine was deleted from the site. But visit Vine to see other examples.)

And there are even people who in just the first week think walking and playing the game is too “boring.” So, they are trying to figure out how to drive and play the game “safely.”

As if the world of driving wasn’t already difficult enough!