#GSMCON2018: Day 3

Guys. I know I am EXTREMELY late on delivering these last two posts for the conference I attended a few weeks ago. And I’m so sorry, but here goes!

Day 3 of #GSMCON2018 (Wednesday, April 25) featured keynotes from Facebook’s Government team, and various sessions covering topics such as risks on social media for public officials, policy implementation, and how to use Facebook metrics effectively.

The overall agenda for my day was as follows (I’ve eliminated the sessions I did not attend as well as food/networking breaks), and I’ll briefly touch on each of these later in the post:

  • 8:00 – 9:30 AM       Keynote: Facebook Tools, Best Practices, and Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:45 AM     Saving Public Officials from Themselves on Social Media
  • 11:00 AM – Noon   Social Media Policy Best Practices
  • 1:45 – 2:45 PM       The Basics of Using Facebook Metrics
  • 4:15 – 5:00 PM        Keynote: Lessons from Detroit’s Chief Storyteller

Keynote: Facebook Tools, Best Practices, and Q&A

  • Eva Guidarini, Facebook

This opening keynote was a fantastic way to start Day 3. Eva was able to provide highly-relevant information regarding use of Facebook as a government organization. Many Facebook training sessions and webinars available are geared toward private sector use, which is vastly different from the policies and procedures that government organizations have to follow, include maintaining and archiving public records, appropriate response, etc. so to have a keynote delivered with real-world tips and tricks for governments was amazing.

Saving Public Officials from Themselves on Social Media

  • Anil Chawala, Archive Social
  • Amy Blalock, City of Durham, NC

This session was by far the most entertaining session I attended throughout the conference. It was real and raw and funny – but provided so much information that served not only as a warning but also as a reminder that having multiple public officials that all serve in similar capacities can be challenging when those officials use personal social media in an official capacity. The speakers covered three main risk areas associated with public officials using social media:

  1. Viewpoint discrimination and First Amendment concerns (blocking, hiding, or deleting user content that is not violating any policies can lead to big trouble!)
  2. Public Officials generating content and public records that the agency is then responsible to produce for public records requests (even after that official is no longer serving in an official role)
  3. Public officials sharing political views in an official capacity (which causes trouble if those views aren’t coming from a campaign page, but instead are shared after the official is elected/appointed)

Amy shared some great examples of incidents that happened in her city in the past year, how her organization handled them, and tips for constructing a policy that the City could use for years to come.

Social Media Policy Best Practices

  • Kaitlin Keeler, Oakland County, MI

I feel that this session would have been much more useful to me had I not already completed a social media policy and had it implemented. A lot of her tips were more general than I would have liked, and Washington has much stricter public records laws that some other states, so some of the things she made as suggestions in a policy are required by law for states that have stringent public records guidelines. All in all though, it was a useful session that I think I can pull from when revising that policy in the future.

Basics of Using Facebook Metrics

  • Eva Guidarini, Facebook

This session was delivered by the same Facebook representative that gave the keynote, and was helpful in learning how to effectively use Facebook metrics to show how your organization is using the platform, how it can improve, and areas of success. The main thing that I learned is to pull metrics on a quarterly basis (and not more often). I had previously pulled the metrics for my organization pages on a monthly basis, but pulling quarterly allows the reader to see more of the trends that are occurring for your page. Another major tip for governments using Facebook: DON’T BE AFRAID OF POST LENGTH. This was new to me – I had always been taught and implemented the “if you have to click ‘read more’ then your post is too long.” Well, that isn’t necessarily the case for governments. If your post is complicated and becomes lengthy, that’s okay because your readers may expect that level of detail and they don’t want to click away to another page to get the relevant information.

Keynote: Lessons from Detroit’s Chief Storyteller

  • Aaron Foley, City of Detroit

This keynote was lighter than some of the others in content, but was still incredibly interesting. The speaker was the Chief Storyteller for the City of Detroit (yes, that’s an official title). His role was to tell the story of Detroit and its residents in a way that wasn’t your stereotypical “Government information.” My synopsis could never do his work justice, so go check out their website if you want to learn more about it:

And, that’s Day 3! After the keynote, I was able to catch up with a friend from college that is pursuing her master’s degree in Denver for some drinks and catching up which was a great way to end the day and close out the last full day of the conference.



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