Friday, September 24, 2010

Social Media in Government - Schools at manor.govfresh #manorgf

Earlier this week, I ventured south to the small town of Manor, TX. The city, specifically the school district in Manor, was was the unlikely host of manor.govfresh conference. The conference brought together "government and industry innovators to share and learn about emerging, cost-effective technologies for state and local government."

I say unlikely host because at first glance this small city looks like any other. However, looks can be deceiving. Manor's innovative use of technology has been featured by government agencies and media, including the White House, Inc. Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Austin American Statesman, and others according to the conference press room. And the district is on par with technology innovation and student digital literacy instruction.

So what does this have to do with school communications or public relations?

I was asked to participate as a panelist for a session entitled Social Media in Government. Coordinating the panel was Andrew Krzmarzick, the GovLoop Community Manager. And rounding out the panel was Sandra Fernandez, Manager of Public Relations for the Houston Public Library, and Jacqueline Lambiase, Ph.D., public relations professor from TCU.

It was our job to convey strategic and tactical uses of social media in government in hopes of aspiring other local governments to look into ways to partner with each other, their school systems, libraries to better engage citizens and make educated decisions about social media tools.

Below are the slides from my portion of the session on school districts:Schools and Social Media -- Manor GovFresh
This was a significant step in a positive direction for open government in Texas and around the country.

Seeing the continued interest and conversations around government 2.0 is something that school district communicators need to be paying attention to and learning as shifts in community expectations lead us to further government transparency.

This shift puts greater emphasis and access to what is happening inside local government. I think this is a good thing.

I also like how Andy put it in a recent tweet about the manor.govfresh conference.
Here's the article by Alex Howard (@digiphile) "Harnessing the Civic Surplus for Open Government."

This is an area worth exploring deeper for school PR. What do you think? What are seeing or hearing in communities in the way of open government? The comments are yours.