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How can government use the new Twitter Custom Timeline?

Twitter Custom Timeline

Twitter announced a new ‘custom timeline’ feature this November. It’s a way to create a collection of tweets surrounding a particular topic, or tweets by certain people, or tweets using a particular hashtag, etc. The point is that you can customize the timeline in almost any way you want, give it a title, and embed it on your website. Let’s explore how government might be able to use this feature.

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Twitter’s New Advice for Government Features Info on Twitter Alerts

Twitter Alerts Illustration

It was reported last week that Twitter released a new best practices guide, part of which covers advice for government agencies using Twitter.

The section features a lot of old news that we’ve heard before – like advice on using photos and ensuring website integration. However, the best part about the new section is the comprehensive information on Twitter Alerts. The value of this new alert feature is that your tweets can appear on subscribers’ phones as SMS notifications when you mark the tweets as an ‘alert’. They will stand out in the timeline as well – marked with an orange bell.

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Celebrate Social Media Success with Management & Elected Officials

Kristy Fifelski reporting to City of Reno Council in 2010

We’re all pretty good about sharing tweets and Facebook posts that commend our agency for doing something well. After all, we want other citizens to see that we’re really helping.

Facebook post from citizen
Post from citizen on City of Reno, NV Facebook page. (click to enlarge)

But don’t forget to share those successes inside your agency as well. It doesn’t have to be an incredibly formal report (like the presentation I gave in the photo to Reno City Council), but even something like a quick email helps. Perhaps you can reserve an area on your employee intranet or internal news blast.

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Google+ finally gets rid of gigantic cover photo

New Google+ Cover Photo Size

Have you noticed that the cover photo size on Google+ profiles isn’t so darned huge anymore? It used to display at 2120×1192 pixels, which took up the entire page of some computer screens and made virtually all of your posts hard to view without scrolling.

The cover photo size was a popular complaint – and it was difficult to find a high quality image that would look great in the space, particularly for government agencies. Luckily, Google recently unveiled a new, much smaller cover photo size. You can still upload the larger size, but with the 16:9 aspect ratio it is proportionally resized – 557×314 on my screen. Don’t worry about needing to replace your image right away, as old cover photos are resized to fit well in the space.

You may also notice that your agency’s name, website url and circle info appear in a blurred box to the left of your cover. It’s actually on top of another version of your cover photo, but the effect isn’t weird. These are good changes, but you still have to consider the circular profile picture. You’ll still want to add some additional blank space around your official logo to make it completely viewable when it’s cropped to a circle.

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Introducing Government Social Media

Social App Icons on Smartphone

This website is your new resource for all things social media- related in the public sector. Look for articles, news and training programs all right here. Make sure to mention this site to your friends in government who may be interested in learning the best and latest tactics for managing government social media.