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  1. Social Media Tools @ CMS Jon Booth Director, Web & New Media Group Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  2. Background: CMS Web Program • CMS’ web program, managed by the Web & New Media Group in the Office of Communications, includes websites, social media channels, and mobile tools. • Websites include: • • • • •

  3. CMS’ Social Media Channels • Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Flickr • Blogs • LinkedIn • Socrata • How used to date: • Outbound communications; one-way • In parallel with other channels: web postings, press releases • Launch channels in parallel with or after other HHS agencies • Comment moderation applied across all channels

  4. CMS’ Social Media Policy • Governs employee use of social media channels as official representatives of CMS (not as private citizens). • Establishes responsibility for management of CMS’ social media channels in the Web & New Media Group. • Mandates that all official CMS social media channels must be managed under HHS-negotiated Federal Terms of Service (ToS) agreements.

  5. Twitter • Twitter was CMS’ first foray into social networking • Launched @cmsgov in 2010 ( • 4,300+ followers • 800+ tweets • Additional Twitter accounts: • @ikngov ( • @cmsinnovates ( • @cmsciso ( • Use Twitter “lists” to classify track followers – make sure we are tweeting info that is of interest to our followers • Use hashtags to promote events, initiatives, campaigns, or local events

  6. YouTube • CMS channel on YouTube at • To date, the CMS YouTube channel has: • nearly 125 videos, • 350,000+  video views • 420,000+ channel views, and • 1,000+ subscribers

  7. Facebook • In early 2011, CMS launched a Facebook page for the Insure Kids Now website (, which promotes children’s health insurance options in both the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid. • The page is available at • Looking to launch future Facebook pages for CMS, Medicare and other programs.

  8. Flickr • Flickr account established in mid-2010 • Photostream available at

  9. Blogs • The Medicare Blog: • • CMS Blog: • • Currently do not allow comments, but do allow for more conversational postings by Agency leadership to the websites (as opposed to formal press release language). Looking to expand posting frequency and range of topics.

  10. LinkedIn • CMS has managed a LinkedIn group since 2010 at • The CMS LinkedIn group has nearly 4,000 members. • Allows CMS to post information to several thousand professional users, but also supports a community of interested users who communicate amongst themselves independent of CMS.

  11. Socrata • Socrata is a “social data platform” that CMS has used since 2010 to publish datasets. • CMS has a long history (over 10 years) of publishing data online for re-use (e.g., Quality Compare datasets), but in a way that is not user-friendly. • Socrata allows CMS to publish datasets in a much more usable form. • Socrata allows data reuse in apps, mobile, etc., via the Socrata Open Data API (SODA) – XML, JSON, and other formats. • Socrata also enables social functionality on CMS’ datasets: • “UGC” – user-created datasets based on CMS-published data • Commenting and rating on CMS and user datasets • Initial states of semantic web tagging using RDF.

  12. • Includes data from all Quality Compare Tools • Updated in parallel with web data refreshes • Working closely with and other Federal data sources • Initial deployment of social technologies

  13. • Initial stages of deployment • Ultimately will have a greater volume of data than

  14. Lessons Learned • People really want our information and products – built audiences with little/no promotion • Different channels require very different engagement models: • Twitter and LinkedIn tend to draw very professional audiences • YouTube draws the most political commentary and requires the most moderation • Socrata has drawn lots of open gov and “big data” users, an audience we don’t really see prominently in our other channels. • Different channels require different skillsets and strategies, but: • It is important to harmonize communications across social media channels so that we don’t create confusion or send conflicting messages • Don’t favor one channel exclusively over another (e.g., tweets and wall posts)

  15. Next Steps • “Get social” – begin to interact with users of CMS social media channels via Twitter chats, blog comments, etc. • Increase engagement with social media (e.g., retweets, likes) • Explore “social media release” formats to improve cross-channel consistency (e.g., press release, tweet, blog, and wall posting as 1 package) • Open questions: How many channels are enough? When should we create a new Twitter account versus using an existing account?

  16. Questions?