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HHS Center for New Media

The Department of Health and Human Services is fortunate to have a wealth of new media talent and resources. Eighteen Staff Divisions and 11 Operating Divisions employ hundreds of public affairs, communication, and multimedia experts. But this can lead to challenges. How do you coordinate all these communicators? How do you make sure each organization is promoting best practices and sharing information?

The Center for New Media (CNM), part of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs’ Web Communications & New Media Division, was created to bring all those people and resources together. The hub promotes and supports the use of new media across the department. It strives to promote the strategic use of these channels through consulting and best practice documentation.

The Center for New Media’s website is a place where readers can discuss how the latest in social media and emerging technologies can advance the mission of HHS. This focus helps the Department communicate with the public, and the public understand the aims of the Department.

It’s a place to read up on best practices for using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms out there. Additional resources include:

  • A complete list of all HHS social media accounts. That list is no small directory--there are more than 300 accounts we use to talk with the public.
  • A webinar series held the 4th Wednesday of each month covers topics like building an online community and best use of social media contests and competitions.
  • A blog is written by a rotating group of authors from around HHS.  Recent posts talk about how to best use video on Facebook and how to write in plain language.
  • Sample terms of service for quick reference. When an organization within HHS wants to begin using a new service it can be hard creating a new Terms of Service agreement to make sure the public’s information is protected. The CNM keeps sample Terms of Services agreements for many networks on file. This limits the pain of setting up an account so the organization can focus on creating good, engaging content for the public.
  • Step-by-step social media “how-to” documents for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the most popular networks across the Department.

In the near future the CNM will begin a review program allowing account admins to get feedback on how their social media work is going. This peer-review process will ensure that accounts are meeting goals and offer suggestions for improvement.

How else do you think the Center for New Media can improve the use of new and emerging media across HHS?

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