Sunday, May 09, 2010

Official state homepages ignore social media

"State government Web sites do not have the obvious centralized structure that most fed sites do. Many states merge tourist info, government services, and assorted other information into one big splashy homepage. Others separate the tourist stuff and gov stuff from everything else with their own URLs, and a few state homepages are merely an unsightly text-filled directory with links to other pages.

While there is no die-cast right or wrong way to approach the state Web site structure, one thing is for sure: when citizens do a Google search for their state, what they usually find first is the state’s official homepage. And if that is lacking, it makes for a lousy first impression and a blown chance to engage citizens.

States that ignore this “window-display” opportunity to showcase their social media efforts are missing out. When the links to state social media efforts are buried any deeper than the homepage, we have to ask… why?

Of the 15 most populous U.S. states (populations ranging from California's 37 million to Massachusetts' 6.5 million), only FIVE ranked in our top tier for displaying social media links, with California leading the way. Four other states showed mixed success, enough to earn them a spot in our second tier. But disappointingly, more than a third didn't make it out of the bottom tier, earning them a FAIL grade. Two states --- North Carolina and Arizona --- showcased absolutely zero social media on their official state homepage."  
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