Gov 2.0: New York City Hosts First Social Media Summit for Government

09/30/2011 07:31 pm ET | Updated Nov 30, 2011

Engagement is one of the four core tenets of New York City's Road Map for the Digital City. As part of NYC Digital mission's to empower agencies to leverage social media to the fullest, and in partnership with the Mayor’s Office communications team, on September 27, 2011 we hosted Engage NYC, our first annual social media summit. Held at the Paley Center for Media, over 100 people from across city government participated in the event, which featured presentations and strategic training on how to effectively use social media platforms to engage, inform and serve New Yorkers.

The morning kicked off with inspiring remarks by Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson (@howiewolf) and a surprise visit by Mayor Bloomberg (@nycmayorsoffice), energizing the audience and conveying the importance of social media to the City’s communications strategy.

Throughout the event, representatives from social media platforms answered questions and presented best practices for leveraging their tools. A quick overview:

•     Diane Petzke, General Manager of NYC Media, presented on a new program to create engaging, short-form videos conveying public service announcements for agencies, embeddable online and sharable on social media platforms.

•       Matt LeMay of Bitly explained the benefits of using the City's custom shortlink to shared content via social media and learn from valuable analytics on effective content and platforms.

•       Adam Conner of Facebook shared that there are 7.2 million Facebook users within 50 miles of New York City and presented on the principles of a connected government and strategies for message delivery.

•       Charles Birnbaum from Foursquare talked about how City agencies can use Foursquare to encourage traffic to public places throughout the city, leave informational “tips” about places and see check-in data.

•       Mark Coatney of Tumblr explained how to Tumbl and discussed how Tumblr is a simple way to share content and connect with citizens.

•       Adam Sharp of Twitter discussed four ways to build a community on Twitter: discover, promote, share and engage. To emphasize just how quickly information spreads on Twitter, he played an animation showing how tweets about the Northeast earthquake were seen by New Yorkers before they even felt it.

•       Katherine Winningham of New York City's Law Department presented on the City's social media policy, providing guidance on how to engage with users.

•       Jodi Hrbek of NextPoint explained how her platform can archive agencies’ social media interactions to comply with legal requirements, and allow digital managers to see how digital assets looked like at any point in time.

In addition, we recognized three agencies for their outstanding use of social media through documentary-style video interviews:

•       The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for its Facebook pages about NYC Condoms, quitting smoking and healthy eating.

•       The Mayor’s Office for its use of @NYCMayorsOffice on Twitter.

The feedback on Engage NYC that we received in person, via email, and on Twitter via the hashtag #engagnyc was wonderful. As an example, here is one of a dozen emails received immediately following the summit:

“It was one of, if not the most, fruitful City-run events I’ve attended in my 5 years working for [the City]. [We] came away with a clear list of things we need to focus on to improve engagement and reach of our accounts. Those insights would have taken us months of discussion and research, but you and the other presenters provided them for us in a matter of hours. I really can’t emphasize enough how helpful it was.”

We will feature more videos and content from Engage NYC on the NYC Digital website in the coming weeks. In closing, we'd like to thank our wonderful partners, hosts at The Paley Center and above all the City's hardworking communications professionals for contributing to our first Engage NYC Social Media Summit.