Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Delaware Wins a 2013 Web 2.0 Award

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) has named Delaware a winner of a 2013 Web 2.0 Award in the “Harnessing the Power of Civic Media” category for the Public Integrity Reporting System (PIRS) developed for the Public Integrity Commission by the eGovernment team.

The Public Integrity Reporting System gives Delawareans new tools to track lobbying activity by making required lobbyist and gift reports more readily available and by making it easier and more efficient for lobbyists and public officials to submit required reports. It was built in response to legislation calling for more online reporting of lobbying activity.

In announcing the award, Delaware Governor Jack Markell noted that the award “highlights the continuing and successful efforts of the General Assembly and my Administration at making State government more transparent, open and accessible to all Delawareans.”

The new system was created by Delaware Interactive, in partnership with the Government Information Center and the Public Integrity Commission, as part of Delaware’s growing collection of eGovernment applications.

Some Early Thoughts on Hurricane Sandy Response

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Many people were busy serving their neighbors during the passage of Hurricane/Frankenstorm/Superstorm Sandy the past week. Governor Markell, himself a busy, busy man during the storm, dedicated his weekly message this week to thanking Delawareans for pulling together and helping each other to get through the storm.

The folks at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) haven’t yet totaled up the numbers (they are still helping people recover), but reports in local media give a sense of the magnitude of the response. Local NPR station WDDE reports that the DEMA storm hotline responded to over 6,800 calls over a 3-day period. The state’s seven shelters gave refuge to 883 evacuees during the storm.

image from facebook stats pageHere at GIC, we’ve been looking at the logs and we saw a 10-fold increase in hits on the portal during the storm. The facebook page saw a 13-fold increase in what facebook calls “total reach.”

Governor Markell and the emergency managers at the state and local levels all made a conscious decision to take full advantage of social media for communication with the public during the storm. As we found after Hurricane Irene, last year, the public seems to have responded favorably.

So, what was the posting on the facebook page that showed the most “reach?” It was a simple listing of emergency contact numbers at the state and local emergency operations centers.

One Never Gets Bored Running Facebook Page

Friday, April 20th, 2012

a screenshot of facebookYou may have noticed some changes at facebook this spring (or always, for that matter). Facebook has moved all profiles and pages to a new timeline look and those of us who manage facebook pages for state agencies and local governments have been doing some scrambling to keep up and keep our pages fresh and useful.

We’ve added a new header image that is the first of a collection that we hope will highlight some of the beauty of the First State. We’ve updated our site guidelines to match the new look and function of the site, and we continue to work with state agency partners to connect the latest news from state agencies to the official Delaware facebook page.

Please let us know if there s more that we can do with facebook to meet your needs.


It’s Always Nice to Get Positive Feedback

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Delaware’s focus on social media channels between state agencies and the public received a pleasant nod earlier this month from a blog that focuses on improving the use of web technology among emergency management agencies. The editors at idisaster 2.0 singled out Delaware in a post on how states list social feeds from their various agencies:

My favorite State site I visited, regarding incorporation of SM, has to be Delaware. There is no second guessing whether or not they are using social media because the entire landing page is taken up by all of their statewide SM feeds, for example, even the bottom of the page is a Flickr gallery.

The editors at idisaster 2.0 were performing a spot-check of a sample of states to determine whether citizens have access to a “dashboard” of information feeds which might be very helpful in emergency situations. As we reported last fall, following Delaware’s brush with Hurricane Irene, Delawareans appear to have made good use of the variety of social media and traditional information channels the state uses.

The editors also noted at least one non-social-media aspect of the Delaware portal as helpful in non-emergency situations as well:

The designers also include a handy tag cloud for users to search information. I don’t have to know which agency is responsible for “unclaimed property”, I just click on the key word: fabulously simple.

The idisaster 2.0 site itself looks like a decent source to keep an eye on, for those of us trying to improve the use and sharing of web technologies.

Local Governments and Social Media

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

We’ve been doing some poking around among Delaware’s county and municipal government web sites, looking into the spreading use of social media communications tools by local governments. We’ve found a small but growing collection of cities, towns and counties in Delaware that use twitter and facebook. And, since we are by nature list-makers, we made a list.

A sample look at a twitter timeline


Facebook users:


An Android Version of the Delaware Fresh Smartphone App

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Delaware Fresh in the Android MarketplaceThe Delaware Government Information Center (GIC) has released an Android version of the popular Delaware Fresh smartphone app. The Android version joins an iPhone (iOS) version of the application that was released in July.

Delaware Fresh is a simple app that uses a smartphone’s ability to find its location, and an open database of  Delaware farm stands and farmers’ markets maintained by the Delaware Department of Agriculture, to help consumers find the closest sources of fresh-grown Delaware produce and other agricultural products. A few clicks will bring further details about a farm stand’s offerings, links to websites, directions, and quick-dialing of phone numbers.

Delaware Fresh is one of a growing number of Delaware-specific smartphone apps that allow Delawareans, visitors to the first state, and potential business partners to easily find information about the state, locations in the state and contacts in Delaware.

Is there an app you’d like to see developed for Delaware? Make a note in the comments below or write it up on social media using the tag #de_gov_sm.

What We’ve Learned, So Far, From Our Survey

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

A word cloud build from results of a survey of Delawareans about communications during Hurricane Irene.Our short, unscientific survey asking Delawareans how they gathered and used information during Hurricane Irene has been active for a few days now. We’re starting to learn from it.

The lessons we can glean from this survey, and other post-hurricane reviews, will help us prepare for the next large event and help us continue to improve our communications efforts.

Most of the respondents reported that they used facebook, television, the web site, and twitter to track the storm and the state’s response. A smaller number added that they relied on local radio stations.

Facebook users mentioned the official State of Delaware facebook page, Governor Markell’s page and the Delaware State Police Newsroom page, among others, as most helpful.

Twitter users visited the tweet-streams of @Delaware_gov@GovernorMarkell@del_editor, and @sussex_pio. Many listed specific hashtags they followed, including #netDE, #DELirene, and #irene.

Generally speaking, people seemed fairly satisfied with information coming to them from the state and the counties. They were not happy with national television, which tended to skip over the Delmarva Peninsula entirely. This is clear not only in the survey results but from conversations all week long at store checkouts, water-coolers and barbershops. “Local” television downstate (stations in Maryland that pay attention to Delaware) was praised for having timely, local storm information. In some cases, respondents wanted information more quickly than it could be posted, tweeted and reported.

It is important to note that this review looks only at communications tools used generally by state agencies during the event. The main focus of the state’s response was the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) which will do a more formal review and plan accordingly for the future.

Also, our small survey was really not very scientific.

After the Hurricane, How Did We Do?

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The state web portal ( shifted focus in last few days almost entirely onto preparations for, and response to, Hurricane Irene. We shared information on the web, on FaceBook, and on Twitter in an effort to get as much information as possible to the people of the state.

Now that the storm has passed, we at the Government Information Center start to ask ourselves some questions. What worked? What didn’t? What was most useful to Delawareans?

So we’ve created a short, unscientific survey as part of an effort to learn from our response to Irene and to plan for future. We’ll gather responses for a few days and see what we learn. If it’s anything really interesting, we’ll share it here.

So. Do us a favor and take our survey. Thanks!

Hurricane Safety Information

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Click here for the latest hurricane informationThe Government Information Center (GIC) has been a hive of activity in the few days leading up to what we expect will be a very large hurricane event for Delaware. We’ve been working with the Governor’s Office, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and other agencies to make sure that Delawareans have access to the latest and most useful information about the storm.

Basic information is available on the portal with detailed information updated at

Among other useful links:

Delaware state offices are now closed for the weekend, though essential personnel and emergency management officials continue their work. GIC staff will monitor the situation and add updates and links as needed to the portal. We’ll also be active on facebook and twitter, using social media to spread as much information and assistance as possible.

Please stay safe this weekend.

An Open Data Portal for Delaware

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

An example of XML dataWe’ve started an ambitiously named page called to hold links to open, machine-readable data sets used in various mobile apps, web page applications and other tools built as part of our mission to help ensure Delawareans “free and equal access to state, local and federal government information and resources.”

The page started as a by-product of our work on the Delaware Fresh iPhone app, which draws on a data file formatted as XML (extensible markup language). A selection from that file — FSData.xml — is at right. There’s no reason not to make available to everyone the data that the Delaware Fresh app draws from. Someone may come up with an even better use for it.

And that thought led us to data sets posted in open formats by other agencies. We’ve posted links to  financial data, demographic data, transit information and other resources.  Our new “Open Data Portal” has only a handful of links, so far. But we’re open to suggestions and will continue to search out data sets that might be of interest or of use to people on-line.