Policymakers today have no shortage of information when considering a specific topic or legislation.
Supporters and opponents both use a wide range of information when arguing a position, and it is not always easy to tell if that information is based on sound science....

In the age of information—where everything is “e” centered and tools like email, social media and blogs have become entwined into Americans’ everyday lives—a significant portion of the nation’s population is in the dark when it comes to Internet and computer literacy.  There is a major digital divide in the United States, where about 30 percent of residents do not have Internet access or a computer at home. The majority of this population lives near or below the national poverty line. 

Staff from CSG’s National Leadership Center presented the webinar Protecting Your Online Identity as part of its series, Sharing Capitol Ideas 2.0.  CSG recognizes that state leaders face a new reality: the public expects them to be accessible on social media and the web, but these tools open up a range of public relations and technological literacy challenges.  Given that many state leaders may not have the resources for a communications staff to manage their online identity, CSG seeks to help educate state leaders through this programing.

State leaders are caught between a rock and a hard place.  The public expects them to be accessible on social media and the web, but these tools open up a range of public relations and technological literacy challenges.  Given that many state leaders may not have the resources for a communcations staff to manage their online identity, CSG will be offering the webinar Protecting Your Online Identity as part of its Leadership Center program to empower public servants in state government. 

Recently Google, a company best known for its search engine, launched a social network that it calls "Google+" or "Google Plus."  You can visit it by going to plus.google.com.  Much like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, Google+ is becomming a popular online desitnation.  Accordingly, it's also a good way for elected officials to connect with the public.  To help connect constituents with elected officials or candidates on Google+, the company has launched an online guide highlighting how the service can be used.

How do you know if a website is an official page of state government?  Must it end in .gov or .state.us?  Residents in Florida, while searching for a way to apply for food stamps online, are stumbling onto websites that may appear to be extensions of the food stamps program but instead engage in activites that include collecting credit card numbers and charging individuals for guides that instruct Floridians on how to game the program, sometimes illegally, to signing them up for various marketing email lists.

Mashable, one of the leading social media blogs, has just released a list of 5 ways QR codes could transform the 2012 election.  What could make QR codes so much more powerful in this upcoming 2012 election cycle than they were in the 2008 election cycle is that in just 4 short years smart phones have gone mainstream in a big way.  They've made it easy for voters to scan a code and then be directed to a campaign video, make a donation or sign up to volunteer all from their phones.  Appropriately enough, innovative state leaders have already taken the lead with this new technology, as CSG reported earlier here.

NPR has published a story exploring the pros and cons of allowing children to join social networks like Facebook. As the article notes, most social networks have a cut off age of 13, in accordance with privacy protections mandated by the Children's Online Protection Act of 1998.  Protecting children online is also a policy priority of several state leaders, such as Kentucky's Attorney General Jack Conway.  The AG's website contains an entire section on cyber saftey, including a list of tips for parents and kids detailing proper precautions to follow when using social media.

Google has launched a new service called "Me on the Web."  It's a collection of Google's resources that help you 1.) monitor you and/or your agency's online identity and 2.) remove certain content from Google's search results.

To access the service, you need a Google account, which you already have if you use Gmail or sign in for any other Google service, including YouTube.  If you don't have an account, it's simple to sign up.

The following is the link to Google Dashboard, in which you can find "Me on the...

Check out the latest Capitol Research brief on how state officials are engaging the world of social media.  The report documents the growing popularity of social media, especially among state officials, and examines leading research into how state leaders are responding to these new utilities.

Check out the complete brief in CSG's Knowledge Center by clicking here.

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