Last week California took the first step in cleaning up their online presence—they aggregated all of their social media feeds into one real time stream on the state’s news website. There is an RSS news feed, a Twitter feed, and a YouTube video feed for each of several specific topics like Business, Education, Government, Health & Safety, Family and Visit. The social media hub includes updates from more than 200 departments and agencies, and compiles information updates from 83 Twitter accounts, 40 YouTube channels and 100 RSS feeds from all over the state. There is a government run Flickr pool, and you can even follow Governor Schwarzenegger on Foursquare!
The site is simple, concise, attractive and cosmopolitan at a time when most state run websites are either outdated, ugly or nonexistent. On this one home page California has succinctly linked not only all the social media channels but also every state department and agency that a resident or visitor might need to seek out. “Designed to keep the public informed of all that is happening in state government, the California News Portal scoops up real-time feeds from departments and agencies aggregating content from more than 200 official sources across state departments and agencies into one place.”
My only complaint would be that the site does not appear to be self-updating, and instead the user has to refresh the page to see new posts that have come in. Even despite this minor snag, the site is still way more impressive than anything any other state has to show.
California’s example shows that social media and the internet in general does not have to always be a fumble for the government. There are ways to appeal to the masses through simple and functional channels. Well done, CA!