Happy Birthday iPhone: Tech May Change, Good Communications Remains the Same

iPhone5The iPhone turned 10 last month. As Steve Jobs began to introduce the iPhone at the MacWorld conference in 2007, he said, “We’re going to make history together today.” 

That certainly was true. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, but it revolutionized how people communicated and how they sought out information – two things that have largely reshaped the ways in which communications teams within transportation departments do their work.

In 2007, a DOT team with which I worked teamed up with a local utility company to insert construction announcements into monthly water bills that went to residents near a major project. It was expensive and time-consuming. And, we had no way of knowing whether the people who opened the utility bill even read the notice.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday iPhone: Tech May Change, Good Communications Remains the Same”

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.
Continue reading “Annual Survey Shows States Still Driving Toward Greater Social Media Usage”

Missouri DOT Goes Mobile to Reach Employees

screenshot of MoDOT Now App
MoDOT NOW is an employee focused app created by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

It is a common trend among communication offices around the transportation world. We spend hours working with project and program managers identifying target audiences and the key messages that we hope will change behavior, garner support for a controversial idea, or perhaps increase participation in a public process.

But as we look outward toward “the public,” or “elected officials,” we neglect a tremendously important audience — our fellow transportation employees. Yes, do not be surprised if the people with whom you work are among the least knowledgeable about your agencies core messages and organizational priorities. Continue reading “Missouri DOT Goes Mobile to Reach Employees”

It’s Personal: The Smartphone’s Influence on Transportation Communications

iPhone5More evidence was released this week suggesting that the days of sitting-at-a-desk, full-monitor web site experiences are waning.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project published its latest research that shows roughly 63% of American cell phone users access the internet with their cellphones. That translates to more than half of all American adults. And of those who access the internet via cell phones, more than a third say it is the primary way in which those cellphone owners access the internet.

Perhaps the next round of questions should ask why isn’t everyone accessing the internet through their cellphones? Continue reading “It’s Personal: The Smartphone’s Influence on Transportation Communications”