Annual Survey Shows States Still Driving Toward Greater Social Media Usage

The 2014 State DOT Social Media Survey shows states overwhelmingly prefer Facebook and Twitter over other social media tools.
The 2014 State DOT Social Media Survey shows states overwhelmingly prefer Facebook and Twitter over other social media tools.

The fifth annual state department of transportation social media survey results were released last month at the annual meeting of TransComm, the AASHTO Subcommittee on Transportation Communications.

(Editor’s note: Full disclosure, I work at AASHTO and oversee the annual survey of state DOTs. Much of the discussion below comes from observations while reviewing raw survey data.)

The survey, started in 2009, confirms what we all probably already suspect. State DOTs are heavily invested in social media outreach both in the operations and public involvement areas. The 2014 survey confirms that not only are the state DOTs utilizing social media tools, many are doing so at a very sophisticated level.
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Wasting time on the company dime? Build a social strategy for internal audiences

How much time to do you spend on Facebook? How about Twitter?

As a communications professional, probably quite a bit of time. According to Facebook’s IPO filing earlier this year, the average Facebook user spends more than 12 minutes a day using its site. That does not include time spent using Facebook’s mobile apps.

According to ComScore, Americans are spending hours and hours every month on social media sites like Pinterest (1 hour and 17 minutes), Twitter (36 minutes), LinkedIn (17 minutes) and even poor Google Plus (6 minutes).

While we talk a lot as communicators about what that means to our external marketing efforts, time spent on social media is becoming a serious issue for transportation agencies concerned about how their employees are spending their days. Are they wasting time on social media, or are they being more efficient?

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Three insights for transportation communicators from today’s newsroom editors

Photo courtesy Stephanie Brown.

I was fortunate to attend a panel discussion this week sponsored by the PRSA National Capitol Chapter that featured planning editors for several news and information outlets based in Washington DC. Participants included editors representing CBS’ DC bureau, the Washington Post, the Associate Press and the Washington Business Journal.

I picked up three important insights from the panelists that are worth noting here:

The state of newspapers: Steven Ginsberg, Washington Post Deputy Political Editor (@ginsbergsteven), said that media relations people should not think about the Washington Post as a newspaper anymore. Instead, think of the Washington Post as a news organization. The Washington Post produces a very popular web site that includes dozens of specialty blogs. It offers smartphone and iPad apps. The newspaper is just ONE of the things that the Washington Post produces.

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