At Social Driver, we like to think a lot about the future, but sometimes it’s fun to look back at the past and see just how far we’ve come. This infographic shows the state of our union 100 years ago compared to today. What do you think we’ll see in the next 100 years?
All things are going digital… Even the census records from 1940!
On April 2nd, The National Archives and Records Association (NARA) released individual records of the 1940 Census. Every 72 years, the census is released and this time it was scanned and digitized for the public to find online.
NARA and the US Census Bureau teamed up for a joint effort in the “40 Days To The 1940 Census” campaign to promote the release. I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Smits, Public Affairs Specialist at the US Census Bureau and Hilary Parkinson, writer-editor of NARA to find out more about the campaign. The overall purpose of the campaign was to build excitement and anticipation for the historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in their family histories. Below are some of the lessons learned from the campaign that we can all takes bits and pieces from in the future.
The Census Bureau and NARA posted photographs from the 1930s and 1940s of civilians, enumerators, farmers, and The Great Depression. Slideshows and infographics were also posted as visual comparisons from the 1940 Census to the 2010 Census, as well as YouTube videos.. All of these images helped boost engagement, especially when asked to like, comment, and share. By posting daily facts, quiz questions, and slideshows about the 1940s, the curiosity and interest of the public grew with excitement because they had the opportunity to be involved participants in the campaign.
You do not need to create a new Twitter account to embrace your campaign because you can use hashtags instead. The hashtag proved to be beneficial for increasing engagement because users had a general hashtag “#1940census” to look for and use themselves.
The Census Bureau even reached out to popular genealogy shows on NBC and CBS. Tweeting to celebrities and television shows during air time was successful in spreading awareness to people, who may otherwise not have known about the census, and led them back to the campaign with the hashtag. Actress Rita Wilson even tweeted back! Twitter chats and Q&As provided an opportunity for users to share their curiosities and after the release, share what they found. These chats were also posted on Facebook to reach those audiences not on Twitter.
The US Census Bureau created their first 3 infographics ever to share the 1940 Census story. Story telling is important when sharing large amounts of data because people do not want to read large amounts of data. Infographics proved to be the best way to tell the 1940 Census story in a visually entertaining way. A visual of comparisons and differences between 1940 and 2010 were more appealing and engaging than words alone. This is especially true when posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr (by NARA), and Pinterest because users then had the chance to share, retweet, and pin. This created a larger sharing of the infographics that reached users on all platforms of the Internet, especially when picked up by the media. The Census Bureau has continued to create infographics for other data releases due to their success, and will continue to do so in the future.
On the US Census Bureau’s landing page for the 1940 Census, the interactive app of an old 1930′s Uncle Sam poster became a major hit for engaging the audience. To promote engagement, users were able to upload their favorite head-shots and place them in the face of Uncle Sam. This app provided an excellent source for people to personally connect with. Users had the chance to create and tell their own personal 1940s story by uploading their own photos and then sharing the updated poster across social media platforms. Aspects of personal connection helped promote the census by reaching out to people on a deeper level regarding their own family histories and stories.
When the census was released online, computers were really slow due to the amount of people trying to access the data. People grew quickly irritated and posted on Facebook and Twitter to NARA out of frustration. Social media once again pulled through because NARA was able to post on Facebook and Twitter that they were aware of the issues with the 1940 census server and were working on it as best they could. This provided an excellent way to reach out to mass groups of people in a time of need to clear the confusion and let them know what was going on. Once users viewed these posts, they were much more understanding of the issue and patiently waited instead.
A big thank you to Jennifer Smits and Hilary Parkinson! And If you’re interested in searching for your family, head to the digitized census here!
Social Driver’s Anthony Shop will serve on a panel at The National Press Club on Tuesday, October 30th discussing how social media has been used as a part of presidential campaign strategies, the role of social media in future elections, and why it’s important for communication executives to pay close attention to these trends pertaining to your the goals of your clients. Audience questions will follow. Get your tickets to attend this event now!
The election is now two weeks away and our Facebook news feeds, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels are exploding with opinions, facts, disagreements and discussion. Digital media is more important to the election than ever before, and we’ve got some numbers to show it.
Blogger Devon Glenn at SocialTimes shares an incredibly revealing infographic created by iProspect to give us a “Digital Summary” of the election. From Obama and Romney’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers to your friend’s very opinionated political posts, social networks are affecting how we talk about the election, as well as what we are talking about. It’s no wonder why the online campaign budget jumped 616% from 2008.
Lots and lots of social media buzz about the election is circulating around the Web. In addition to that, new technologies are popping up to get us to the voting polls. Read below to find out what you must have before going to vote!
First of all, Vote For Somebody!
The adorable 4th graders at Democracy Prep are singing to get you to the polls! If you know the tune to “Call Me Maybe” then you’ll love listening to the Harlem Prep Hawks sing their creative mix of civic messages to inspire you to vote. This video has become a hit on YouTube and is going viral real fast. Don’t be the last one to get this song stuck in your head!
On Election Day, November 6th, Zipcar is promoting Zip To The Polls! Zipcar members can pay half price from 5am-9pm for hourly reservations on any vehicle. First, you can register to vote on Zipcar’s Facebook page and find your polling place. Book your reservation and you’ll be zipping to the polls for half the price in no time.
Download PollTracker Mobile
Talking Points Memo released PollTracker Mobile, a free app download for your iPhone in the AppStore. This app includes not only the presidential race, but all races across the entire country. You can choose which races you want to follow and receive immediate notifications when new polling information is released.
Tech President gives us an update on election day apps via Google’s Civic Information API. The API sets up the basis for app developers to have access to early voting and polling locations, as well as candidate and official election information. As of last week, the API is active in fifteen states with many more emerging as we get closer to Election Day.
We here at Social Driver believe that everyone can get with the future, governments too.
Government websites may be the perfect case for web usability and good design. These sites have a public mission to serve and inform, both of which can be greatly helped with a few smart webtools and an open eye to innovation. And now, with such amazing tools at our disposal, the opportunity for agencies to build high impact, and highly useful sites has never been greater.
What makes a government site great is different than what makes a conventional site great, of course. Good looks and snazzy graphics alone don’t make for a good use of taxpayer dollars. Like the agencies they represent, a good site is for the people and therefore serves a public purpose. These winners all succeed by looking good and doing good.
Did you know that the polished brass finish on your home plumbing fixtures comes from a space-age technology developed by NASA? You do now and you’re welcome. NASA@Home is a fun and graphically innovative site for understanding all the ways that NASA touches our lives. Fun to explore, loaded with information.
They say that Kentucky is where beauty, excitement, and hospitality come alive. Would you expect anything less from the state’s own website? KY.gov’s maker’s mark feels modern and accessible while providing all of the state’s vital resources. Even better, no wild turkey chases here. The site’s responsive design will beam any Jim straight to the information needed, regardless of device. And if there’s anything we here at Social Driver love, its bourbon responsive design.
Joining KY in the winner’s circle is Utah.gov with its search-centric, Bing-inspired landing page. Why sort for information on winter skiing conditions or dinosaur fossils when you can just search for it? (or, is it “Bing it?” Or, “Ute it?” Yes, we like “Ute it.”) While the site may not be response it is very mobile ready, so you can put on your official Utah state tartan and dance the official state folk dance. What are those, you ask? Ute it.
Governments are complicated. Benefits are complicated. Much to the relief of bureaucrats everywhere, benefits.gov is not complicated. Through their handy ‘Benefits Finder’ you can take a look to see which government assistance program. I, for example, may be eligible for 54 benefit programs. Thanks, benefits.gov!
How strong is the US Army’s website? Army strong, naturally. Backed by alluring imagery of skydivers and wall climbers, GoArmy is the online face of the Army’s recruitment efforts. The site’s appeal is more than skin deep though. Live webcasts, virtual base explorations, and live chats with sergeants aplenty are at the ready to help you choose to answer that call of duty.