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The government has millions of public connections through social networks that grow daily with each agency’s new Facebook friend or Twitter follower. Yet although social media has been around for more than a decade, agencies are only now able to turn those services into an effective listening, sharing and communication tool.
Nearly every agency has embraced at least one of the 60 federally approved platforms, and many have joined several. But social government is about more than connectedness, and agencies are increasingly turning to analytics to glean meaningful insights, improve their social media outreach and monitor the effectiveness of their platforms.
To do that, they are using policies developed in the public sector, led by the General Services Administration, and new tools provided by private firms.
“Social media analytics [is] a trend that is gaining traction right now,” said Lauren Keates, a social intelligence analyst at Topsy Labs, a company that bills itself as having the only full-scale index of the public social web. “Some agencies have been using it for a little while, but there have been a lot of efforts to pick up and gain momentum over the past year.”
The company runs complex big-data analytics against millions of websites and hundreds of billions of tweets — it has stored every tweet since July 2010 — to create an amalgamation of insights that helps federal agencies improve their social media outreach.