Facebook Page For Government Launches - InformationWeek
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9/14/2009
09:24 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Facebook Page For Government Launches

The federal government launched a Facebook page to give agencies tips and impetus to set up and run their presence on Facebook. The page offers links to agency pages already on Facebook, guides, and updates to government Facebook activity.

The federal government launched a Facebook page to give agencies tips and impetus to set up and run their presence on Facebook. The page offers links to agency pages already on Facebook, guides, and updates to government Facebook activity.Some 23 agencies have set up Facebook sites, said Tim Saparini, Facebook Washington representative, when he announced the launch recently. But Facebook and social media have been controversial in government; the U.S. Marines banned Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social media, except in specific cases where it's needed.

The Facebook government page is at http://www.facebook.com/government, and had 593 fans as of Friday afternoon--592 if you don't count me. Is that good? Federal Computer Week says it's "healthy." On the other hand, it's a drop in the bucket compared with some pages; for example, the fan page for the TV show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations has 252,297 fans, and it's not even one of the top 100 most popular TV shows.

The U.S. government has 1.8 million employees, it should be able to do a lot better than 593 fans. Even the InformationWeek fan page, which serves a community smaller than the U.S. government, has 542 fans (not a lot--but by gosh we're plucky).

Also: Federal Computer Week looks at the top 10 government agencies on Twitter. The numbers there are much bigger than that Facebook Government page: The White House is #1 with more than a million followers, followed by CDC Emergency with more than 800,000. The comparison is not entirely fair: the Facebook Government page is aimed at insiders, providing tips and info on getting government agencies on Facebook, while the Twitter feeds are aimed at the general public. Still, the differing numbers might indicate that Twitter is more suitable than Facebook for government business.

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