It’s rare to find a city, county, school district, water district or other public sector entity that is not active on social media.

Maybe they don’t do the whole Instagram–Pinterest route, but a Facebook page and a Twitter feed are now fairly standard, and offer a convenient way to engage with the community you serve.

However, we’ve noticed a difference between the content that goes out from these entities via social media, and content disseminated through more traditional channels such as emails, updated website content and press releases.

Some of this is to be expected, as the tone of social media is typically more informal. But to the public, these are still ‘official’ communications that represent your office and its leadership.

Vetting Public Sector Social Media Content

With traditional communication there is a vetting process in place to make sure the content and language are acceptable. But this same attention is not always directed toward tweets and Facebook posts.

For the types of messages most public sector entities send – PTA or board of director meeting places and times, open houses – the possibility of unintended consequences are minimal. But sometimes people, including the folks who work on your Twitter account, get angry over something in the news, and it takes just seconds for that emotion to get channeled into a tweet.

ESPN is dealing with the fallout from this right now, after one of its on-air hosts tweeted several inflammatory political statements.

Is it necessary to hire someone full-time to review all social media communication? Perhaps not. But it’s always advisable to have a second set of eyes review everything before it goes out. It’s a good idea for fact-checking as well. 

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