04/04/2013 01:30 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2013

Social Media in Government Is Way More Advanced Than You Think

Did you know that the U.S. Army publishes one of the very best social media handbooks on the planet -- covering everything from "Army Branding" to "The Enemy Is Listening?"

Didn't think so. In fact, every armed service in the Department of Defense has a social media policy and roll out plan. Go ahead, click here and see for yourself.

What about the SeeClickFix app? This is the app that lets you take a picture of a pothole (or other non-emergency problem) on your smartphone and upload it to the appropriate city department. Oh, and its white label, so it can be branded for your municipality.

Not to mention some innovative thinking going on in Mayor Cory Booker's Newark, N.J., or Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York City about the untapped potential for social media as a public service and citizen engagement tool. Or the jaw-dropping amounts of campaign funds raised via social platforms by both sides in the 2012 presidential election.

Yup, government is killing it when it comes to social media. Seriously, that the U.S. Army is ahead of most corporations right now on social media is pretty telling. Most corporations still don't get that social technologies can provide an external communication platform with customers, and an internal productivity enhancement for workers. But the U.S. Army and a ton of government agencies, departments, municipalities, and more are marching down the path.

Look for a white paper I'm authoring on 5 Key Considerations for Social Media in Government to highlight just how effective and efficient good social implementation can be. I'll also be discussing this in a free webinar hosted by HootSuite on April 23, 2013.

After all, citizen participation and engagement is at the foundation of democratic values. Additionally, citizen engagement initiatives have the ability to help build community, grow leaders, and introduce a more collaborative style of government. A good lesson for any big enterprise, indeed.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the Co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She also teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension.. Email at