Feb 3, 2009

How Big Is Your Audience

From National Journal Online,
Still, the biggest problem facing most agencies isn't the trap of outdated regulations but the failure to attract an audience. Take the Commerce Department, which spent months negotiating a special end-user license agreement with YouTube and became one of the first federal agencies on the site last year.

It was an achievement for the department to make it to YouTube, but its videos haven't taken off: Its channel has 14 videos and three subscribers. Its most popular? A seven-minute clip of then-Secretary Carlos Gutierrez speaking to the Manufacturing Council in July, with just over 100 hits....Content experts suggest Commerce instead post how-to videos to help Americans apply for government loans or learn about helpful programs.

Not every agency should expect to attract sizable audiences, given the specialization of most government offices, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, says Micah Sifry, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and the blog TechPresident.

"We don't really know what the effect is of reaching a couple hundred people if it's the right couple hundred people," he says. "If the government makes it easier to find obscure information, but the only 200 people in the country who need the information find it, that's good...Right now you can point to some failures of some interesting experiments, but six months to a year from now things will be very different," he said.--More on National Journal
Once again, a pitch for having a strategy. Being there is not enough. The correct question is not, "What can you provide?" but instead, "What does your audience want?"

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