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Archiving Federal Tweets: Agencies Take on Social Media Records Management

Image: blog.archives.gov

When is a tweet more than just a tweet?

Well, when the tweeter is a government agency or department, the 140-word missive, along with Facebook postings and YouTube uploads, becomes a document to be archived following federal guidelines for storing and managing records.

It’s no secret the proliferation of social media has thrown a snarl in government record-keeping efforts. But some agencies are doing better than others, and Federal Computer Week reports at least part of the problem is that agencies have been attempting to tame the social-media-records beast alone.

The National Archives and Records Administration held a forum last week for federal agencies to share best practices on social media record management, FCW reports.

“Every agency is moving in its own direction,” which is part of the problem, suggested Jeffrey Levy, director of web communications for the Environmental Protection Agency. “The rules for retaining tweets for one agency should be no different than tweets for other agencies.”

Another key hurdle is the lack of control agencies have with content posted on third-party social networks, FCW reports.

“How do we retain legacy records if we don’t control them?” said Emma Antunes, who manages manager NASA’s social network, Spacebook. The agency also has a robust presence on mainstream social networks, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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