Do you have an interest in U.S. energy policy? Are you in the ag sector looking for options in renewable energy? Here’s your chance to ask USDA!
On Thursday, April 5 at 1:30pm ET, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack himself will sit down for 45 minutes to answer YOUR questions on the Department’s renewable energy programs, and how USDA is helping build a secure energy future for America. Just submit them to the @USDA Twitter account using the hashtag #AskUSDA. Read more »
As 2011 draws to an end, this is a time where we begin to look back on things we learned or achieved, and to make resolutions for the year ahead. We wanted to take the end of 2011 to look back on the wide range of social media activities that we had the pleasure of planning, executing and watching unfold across the Department in an effort to better serve you, our most important audience. From Twitter chats, to video challenges, to new ways to share valuable data, we think USDA really upped the ante on the social media front this year.
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You may have noticed a fresh, new look on USDA.gov last night – we’re excited to announce the launch of our redesigned website! Our redesign team has been hard at work designing a new look and feel that should make navigating our site more user-friendly and intuitive. In support of our One USDA approach, we strive to provide a consistent, high value online experience that focuses on our users’ top tasks and requests. One USDA unifies our mission areas and offices to provide all of our stakeholders with a cutting-edge experience that empowers education, decision-making and action.
Not only did One USDA inspire the design of our new website, it also describes the collaborative redesign process. Using only in-house expertise and resources, the collaborative effort was led by our Web Communications Division and agency web professionals who contributed to the information architecture and design elements, a significant cost savings for the Department. Read more »
Using social media and other new digital technologies to reach the public with critical food safety messages is a key mandate of the year-old President’s Food Safety Working Group. As demonstrated at a panel at USDA’s Food Safety Education Conference in Atlanta, the government is responding vigorously to the charge.
Representatives of the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USDA spoke about how emerging digital and social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs are being used to educate the public about food safety.
“Using social media helps us reach many more people than we can using only conventional channels,” USDA Director of New Media Amanda Eamich told attendees at a panel titled “Using Social Media.” “Social media lets us multiply our reach.”
The panelists described social media such as Facebook and Twitter as a public “conversation” among users. The government can better serve the public by listening to and participating in that conversation, Eamich said. USDA uses the Twitter profile @usdafoodsafety to send recall and food safety messages to more than 25,000 followers.
In a recent campaign, USDA sent out Tweets during the run-up to the Super Bowl about preparing buffet and party food safely. By using a tag followed by Twitterers discussing the Super Bowl, “We were able to remind people to cook their burgers to 160 degrees, as part of their existing conversations about the game,” she said.
Part of the mandate of the Food Safety Working Group was to update www.foodsafety.gov into a “one-stop shop” for consumer information on food safety. The three agencies have collaborated to create a vibrant consumer-friendly site that employs Twitter and a blog.
The panel listed a wide variety of digital technologies now being used to distribute food safety messages to diverse audiences:
“e-cards”—colorful e-mail greetings that include a variety of public health messages
Web pages optimized for mobile phones
Text messaging services and e-mail alerts
Widgets that allow people to get live product recall information sent directly to their desktops or to their own web pages
Click here for links to all USDA new media. You can follow @USDAgov on Twitter for all Department information. USDA’s food safety Twitter feed is @usdafoodsafety.
By Craig Stoltz, Web Director, Food Safety and Inspection Service