Navigating government social media guidelines can be tricky since there are so many different components to consider, so I wanted to share 5 links that help me advise my clients and comply with the guidelines.
1. Apps.gov– Apps.gov lists all the approved social media sites and tools that have Terms of Service agreements with the government. This is a great place to start when looking to solve a communication problem with a social media tool since the site needs to have an approved TOS agreement in order for your client/agency to use it. While you can use this site as a resource you still need to check with your clients/agency leadership as every agency has more specific guidance that may limit this list further.
2.Web2Access.org.uk– This site has tested many of the most popular Web 2.0 sites for accessibility for those with disabilities. You can use it to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a particular site in relation to 508 compliance. They even give each site a score based on different types of disabilities.
3. Archives.gov Memo on FOIA Archiving– I get many questions about how and what to archive from government clients, but most of the advice on agency sites is vague and recommends talking with your agency’s FOIA officer or checking with archives.gov (which is still a good course of action). However, a direct link to this archiving guidance is hard to find, so I dug it up on the archives.gov website. The memo clearly outlines what needs to be archived in Social media and how you might go about doing that.
4. OMB Guidance on Information Collected through Social Media– As a best practice, we recommend our clients engage in social media by asking questions and involving their audience in a two-way dialogue. However, there is always confusion about what government agencies are allowed to ask and what types of information they can collect from the public without OMB approval. Luckily, OMB has guidance on this very issue online and available to the public in case you ever need a refresher. As a little preview, open ended questions are OK, but surveys and polls are not without OMB clearance. Read the memo for guidance on contests, e-mail address collection, rankings/ratings/votes and more.
5. HHS Center for New Media– Most of my clients fall under the HHS umbrella so this site is exceedingly helpful to me when I need to research a social media guidelines question. It’s got a great section on Standards and Policies for HHS that is inclusive of everything you need to think about before embarking on a social media campaign for a HHS agency. There are also many many resources and tools that can help you educate yourself and learn where to go for more information.
What links do you rely on to help you comply with government social media guidelines? This is definitely not a comprehensive list, so please leave a few of your favorite resources in the comments.