On Friday the White House published a blog post detailing the results of surveys it conducted with its Facebook and Twitter followers on its web presence — what’s working, what’s not, and what can be improved upon, etc. While the surveys were far from scientific, it’s kind of interesting to watch how the modern American government is interacting on the web in this new era, a moment in time when entire nations are being toppled by fed-up citizens using social media to circumvent powers-that-be to organize and communicate.
Interactive engagement is powerful. Without intelligence, however, the ability to transform digital citizens into active stakeholders will prove elusive. In the end, what matters most is that people feel that they were heard and that change was evident. For governments, it’s critical that people are also engaged and directed to take actions that trigger desirable outcomes. In addition to intelligence, social media requires orchestration and the ability to design programs and experiences that positively influence behavior. By activating the human algorithm, governments can inspire a new generation of collaboration and productivity that accomplishes tasks, solves problems, and helps where help is needed.
On a slightly different subject, the most interesting finding, in my opinion, of the White House’s research is that its Twitter respondents were much older than its Facebook respondents (“50% of Facebook survey respondents were over the age of 50, with another 35% between 35 and 49. Our Twitter audience is younger, with only 32% of respondents over the age of 50. A combined 62% are over the age of 35.”), a trend that seems to be in line with data found in numerous other studies done in the past couple of years. As a side note, Inside Facebook reported today that Facebook’s traffic is dropping as its user base gets older.
Meanwhile, you know what else is trending younger? People who have “swag!”