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VA Publishes Social Media Policy

Policy Establishes Responsible Use for Web-based Collaboration Tools

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the
release of a policy directive regarding the secure use of Web-based
collaboration and social media tools.  The policy allows the Department
and its employees to leverage emerging platforms that enhance
communication, stakeholder outreach, and information exchange as the
Department transforms itself into a 21st Century organization attuned to
the needs of Veterans of all generations.

"Veterans should have consistent and convenient access to reliable VA
information real time using social media -whether on a smartphone or a
computer," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  "They
also should be able to communicate directly with appropriate VA
employees electronically."

The policy, "VA Directive 6515: Use of Web-Based Collaboration
Technologies," encourages the adoption and use of social media by VA
employees. It provides workplace boundaries and establishes the
Department's philosophy for communication: VA is open and transparent,
and VA is willing and able to engage and collaborate with its many
stakeholders online.

"This isn't about using social media because it's cool or because it's a
fad," said VA Director of Online Communications Brandon Friedman.  "It's
about getting the right information to the right Veteran at the right
time.  This policy sets us on a path toward changing how we talk-and
listen-to Vets."

VA began launching social media sites in 2009 and the Department has
over 100 Facebook pages, more than 50 Twitter feeds, two blogs, a
YouTube channel, and a Flickr page.  VA's Facebook pages have a combined
subscribership of over 293,000 fans-with the Department's main page
reaching over 138,000.  On Twitter, VA has a combined followership of
over 53,000-with the Department's main feed reaching over 22,000.  VA
has posted over 300 videos on YouTube and over 9,000 photos on Flickr,
which have been viewed over a combined 1.1 million times.  In November
2010, VA launched its first blog, VAntage Point, which distinguishes
itself from other government blogs by actively soliciting guest pieces
from both employees and the public.  By the end of the year, the
Department expects to have an active Facebook page and Twitter feed for
all 152 VA Medical Centers.

More information:

VA Directive 6515 (Social Media Policy)

Directory of VA Social Media Sites


VA's Main Social Media Sites






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Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000


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