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GSA rolls out new metrics, API for social media

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New social media metrics for federal agencies will provide consistent terminology and governmentwide benchmarks, the Center for Excellence in Digital Government says.

The center, part of the General Services Administration, announced the metrics on its DigitalGov blog on Feb. 19. They include community size and growth, engagement and repeat visitors. Engagement includes both agency response times to questions or requests and user interaction with content. The guidelines also suggest measuring specific short-term campaigns and tactics with the metrics.

An interagency working group of the federal Social Media Community of Practice developed the metrics. Its stated goal is "to move beyond obscure results of social media activities towards more sophisticated and more accurate assessments."

The guidelines note that they'll evolve as tools and technology change. For now, they include specific metrics for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube and Tumblr.

GSA also announced it is rolling out an application programming interface, or API, from the federal Social Media Registry, where agencies can keep track of their official social media accounts. Accounts can be from any of about two dozen services, including all those featured in GSA's new metrics and Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Ustream.

In the DigitalGov blog post, Justin Herman, lead for social media in the Center for Excellence in Digital Government, offered a few examples of the API's potential uses. One could aggregate the activity from all of a department's Twitter accounts or track mentions of a certain topic across all federal accounts, he wrote.

"The potential of this verified API source is especially underscored by crisis situations like Superstorm Sandy," where a variety of agencies provide information over separate social media accounts, Herman said.

For more:
go to the social media metrics
read the DigitalGov blog post

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