NRC expanding social outreach efforts with new live chat next week

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Image Courtesy of Nuclear Regulatory Commission -
Image Courtesy of Nuclear Regulatory Commission –

In 2009, President Obama issued a memorandum to executive agencies which outlined guidance for the use of social media to increase outreach efforts.  In January 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission launched its first official blog.  Over the course of the last few years, the NRC has been working to expand their social media impact.  The agency has worked very proactively to use their social media tools to expand their efforts to promote certain aspects of the nuclear industry, but has also strictly managed their social media presence by controlling content.  Despite the best of their efforts, the NRC found that they had created a public tool which was not engaging the public in meaningful dialogue on critical issues and lacked the prominent voice in the internet world that they enjoyed in Rockville, Maryland.  In 2012 the agency hired Booz Allen Hamilton, a consultant group, to conduct an evaluation. The consultants contacted various online nuclear websites, interviewed them, and then asked them to publicize their outreach efforts in the future and backlink to online surveys through their own websites.

In 2013, the Office of the Inspector General released a report on the NRC’s social media efforts, but fell short of giving them all gold stars.  Their report noted that NRC measured success “too narrowly as solely a function of readership and subscription rates”, and that they were not measuring the true impact of their efforts.  Outside of the official NRC blog, the OIG commented that the NRC does not make full use of its social media presence on platforms like Twitter leading to a situation where the “NRC is perceived by some as insular rather than an active participant in the online community because it does not ―follow others online.”  One of the key findings of the OIG report was that the “NRC’s authority and leadership offline is not adequately reflected online” and that the “NRC has not yet established the credibility and status as a source for nuclear information online as it does offline.”  The OIG commented that the NRC would benefit from creating social media content which was more transparent, relevant, compelling, and engaging.  They found that the “NRC‘s social media content is often generic and uninviting and does not meet the needs of many key stakeholder groups.”

In lieu of this report, Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been working to place greater emphasis on “return on engagement”.  This week the agency announced that they will be working to expand its social media outreach by launching a new live chat discussion platform on April 30th, which is geared to increase the NRC’s presence on the internet.  The chat is similar to the existing NRC blog, but will feature moderated discussion with NRC experts responding to approved questions.  Questions can be submitted early by sending them to [email protected]. Please put CHAT in the subject line.

Source: Southern Maryland News

Source: Office of the Inspector General

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  1. I haven’t ‘interacted’ with the NRC. Honestly, we make too much of social media outside of our own personal contacts. They’re going to do whatever in hell is good for the nuclear industry, anyway. That is, essentially, what their job really is no matter what some piece of paper or some legislation says and those who wrote the paper and/or the legislation knew that as they were writing it.

    Really, I believe that their research is good, their ability to see some problems and make the recommendations are good, they just can’t bring themselves to do anything but compromise when some owner or interest pushes back even a little. I guess we have to remember that it and its predecessor exist as a political and public relations tool also, and this (the social media thing) is nothing but an extension of that use of the tool. They might be a bit better than some of the regulatory agencies (the SEC comes to mind…) that we want to rely upon, but I think it’s a waste of money and time. I would much rather see them be honest, publish thier work honestly and comprehensively, and to do their job as the public envisions or hopes that they would. One doesn’t need facebook or twitter to do that.

  2. This amounts to “damage control” when you consider all of the intentionally obfuscated documentation the NRC releases.

    obfuscation: bewilderment: confusion resulting from failure to understand.

    If they followed the Plain Writing Act and provided clean data it might benefit scientists and researchers from discovering the truth. Unfortunately NRC seems to have an interest in obscuring the truth.

    So why should we engage with them in social media if they can’t engage correctly in the proper channels to begin with?

  3. All they really need to do is as stated above: answer questions honestly with scientific rigor at real public hearings. Hear that Barbara Boxer? Put your fighting gloves on, or, forever be shamed for allowing stupidity to kill millions in the end.

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