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21 Table 8 Importance of Barriers in Agency Decision to Use Social Media Not Slightly Very Barrier No. Important Important Important Important Average No staff available to manage social media activities 31 16% 16% 39% 29% 2.8 People will use social media to criticize my agency 32 13% 28% 38% 22% 2.7 Posting updates takes too much time 31 19% 45% 23% 13% 2.3 Our riders do not have access to technology 29 34% 24% 31% 10% 2.2 People with disabilities cannot access social media 23 30% 30% 35% 4% 2.1 Traditional communications methods are the best way to reach our riders 31 32% 29% 32% 6% 2.1 Agency managers did not see the benefits of social media 28 43% 25% 18% 14% 2.0 Social media apps require support from IT staff 29 41% 21% 31% 7% 2.0 Using social media creates concerns about user privacy 30 37% 43% 10% 10% 1.9 Staff will waste time updating their personal pages 30 47% 33% 10% 10% 1.8 There's no good way to archive social media posts 31 35% 48% 16% 0% 1.8 Seniors do not use social media 28 46% 36% 18% 0% 1.7 Social media exposes our agency to computer viruses 32 63% 16% 13% 9% 1.7 Social media is not a good way to reach minorities 24 63% 17% 21% 0% 1.6 Percentage is based on number of agencies responding to question, shown in column marked "No." Weighted average was calculated from responses using a four-point scale where 1 = "not important at all" and 4 = "very important." N/A responses were excluded. Legal issues--Although some policies simply advised Resource Requirements employees to follow all applicable laws, several focused on records retention and others required sites to post Staffing availability was the most commonly cited barrier to specific disclaimers. using social media among transit properties surveyed for this User conduct--About a dozen policies included rules study. As Table 8 shows, two of three responding agencies of conduct for readers and posters, including restrictions (68%) said this factor was "important" or "very important" on offensive language. when deciding whether to implement a social media campaign. As the list suggests, some agencies use a social media Staffing Levels policy to provide agency-level guidance on using the social space (e.g., responsibility for content), some use the policy Most agencies reported that marketing and communications to manage employee behavior, and some develop policies to staff generated content for social media applications (86% of cover both. Among the agencies responding to the survey for responding agencies), either alone or in collaboration with the synthesis, only 27% had a social media policy, although other departments. Other departments commonly cited were more than half (58%) had one in development. customer service (29% of agencies), administration (23%),

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22 FIGURE 8 Agency investment in social media (total hours per month by size of agency). Percentage is based on number of agencies reporting in the size category. For small urban/rural N = 7 and for large urban N = 22. planning (23%), operations and maintenance (23%), senior month; at smaller agencies the range was narrower, from an management (23%), and information technology (20%). estimated 3 hours per month to 20 hours. Agencies were also asked to indicate how many hours Among large agencies, social media responsibilities per month staff devoted to social media activities. Figure 8 were also allocated to community relations staff (as many shows the overall distribution of staff hours at the agency as 170 hours per month) and customer service (up to 200 hours level based on operating setting. The categories are defined per month). Other departments, such as legal and procurement, as: (1) Large urbanized area--population more than 200,000; had a small role, and human resources had none. (2) Small urbanized area--population between 50,000 and 200,000; and (3) Rural area--population less than 50,000. However, small urbanized and rural areas were combined Direct Expenses for this analysis because only seven responding agencies fell In addition to asking about staffing requirements, the survey into these categories. asked respondents to report direct expenses for social media activities. These questions yielded very few meaningful As might be expected, large urban agencies devoted more responses and are not summarized here. Perhaps consistent staff resources to social media than those operating in smaller with the lack of response to this question, respondents dis- environments. More than half of the large urban agencies agreed about the effectiveness of social media as a cost-cutting responding to this question allocated at least 40 hours, or the measure (see Table 5). equivalent of one week per month, to social media activities, including 23% that reported an investment of more than 80 hours per month. Small agencies generally devoted less Potential Revenues staff time to social media and the vast majority (86%) reported a commitment of 40 hours per month or less. Survey respondents were asked whether they had investigated potential revenue streams from social media. Half of the Table 9 shows the distribution of staff hours based on responding agencies (50%) had not done so. Others had con- department or job classification and distinguished by operating sidered advertising (27%), partnerships with outside organiza- setting. Again, small urban and rural agencies are combined. tions (27%), and location-based advertising (20%). Overall, the results document the wide variation in approaches to social media among transit properties, showing distinct Research conducted on behalf of the Washington State differences in which departments participate and how much Department of Transportation (WSDOT) found some prec- time they spend. Marketing and communications staff was edent for accepting advertising on government websites, most likely to participate in social media programs across although most of the identified sites were government- the board. At large urban properties, the reports ranged from sponsored tourism sites. WSDOT identified several potential a low of 2 to 3 hours per month to a high of 200 hours per scenarios for generating revenue, including direct advertising