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Updating with the Times: Hello from the new Digital Communications Division

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

I’m delighted to announce a significant milestone in the evolution of the Department’s communications efforts: Effective today, ASPA’s Web Communications and New Media Division becomes the Digital Communications Division.

Why change our brand?

When I came to HHS in 2006, it was to head the Web Communications Division. We essentially built and managed websites for the Department.

HHS’s web outreach grew, and so did we. We started adding audio, then video. Then came Facebook and Twitter. And so we launched the Center for New Media, and became the Web Communications and New Media Division.

Now we see mobile exploding onto the scene. Just this September, Facebook reported that more than half of its one billion active users were using Facebook on tablets and smart phones. Mobile use of our sites is growing 20-30% a year. PayPal reported yesterday that financial transactions on mobile devices increased 120% this holiday weekend over last year.

This year brought the new Digital Strategy, memorializing principles we’ve embraced for a long time. We now create sites using responsive design. We’re transitioning to more open source tools and platforms. We’ve began creating APIs to make our data easy for others to use. We moved to the cloud.

So we considered renaming ourselves again to reflect all we do. Someone suggested we become the Web, Social Media, Mobile, Open Source, and API Division (WSMMOSAD?). How silly would that be?

Instead, we decided to go right to our foundation: Digital—the common thread that unites all of our efforts across platforms, tools, and technologies.

And so, starting today, we become: The Digital Communications Division (DCD).

It will some take time to officially make the change. But as we know, change is fast these days—and inevitable. We think this new name positions us well for the future, whatever it throws at us.

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Submitted by Alexandra Bornkessel on
Bravo for recognizing the need for this important update!