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