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30 Social Media Links Website: Facebook: Blog: Twitter: YouTube: Foursquare: Dallas Area Rapid Transit DART is a multimodal transit agency serving the Dallas metropolitan area. DART provides bus, light rail, commuter rail, demand-response, and vanpool services over 689 square miles with a population of 2.4 million. In 2009, DART pro- FIGURE 9 BART's blog covers service-related topics. vided 65 million unlinked trips. BART says that the amount of time that employees spend in Social Media Overview the social media space has leveled off. According to agency staff, DART's social media activities Because resource allocation is typically a zero-sum game, include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (see Figure 10), and RSS BART believes that agencies need to focus on the basics feeds. The agency believes that each medium is effective in before moving into social media. Organizations would provide its own way, and tries to match the medium to the message. what customers need--online trip-planning tools, real-time DART uses its main website for providing general informa- information, service advisories, and way-finding resources-- tion and relies on Twitter and the e-mail/text messaging tool before turning to social media. GovDelivery for service updates. DART also sees Twitter as an emerging platform for one-to-one conversations, whereas BART does not have a formal social media policy, but it values YouTube for one-to-many communications. A few does have a comment policy. Inappropriate comments will years ago, DART saw the potential of YouTube as a new way be removed, but BART welcomes feedback--the good with to talk to its customers without spending a lot of money. The the bad--saying that it is important for agencies to have a agency already had a talented videographer and photographer thick skin. Equally important is presenting information in a on staff, and YouTube enabled DART to work with existing straightforward way. Readers may not always agree with the message, but they will respect honesty. Lessons Learned BART offered the following advice and lessons learned. Keep social media in perspective--While BART has no doubt that social media will become even more important in the future, for now social media users rep- resent only a small segment of the rider population. Get your house in order first--If your website does not have trip planning, real-time information, and devel- oper tools you should not be spending a great deal of time in social media. Acknowledge your mistakes--Everyone makes mis- takes and BART believes it is important for organizations to own up to their errors. Find the right tone--BART urges agencies to avoid jargon and "agency-speak" and to use a human touch when connecting with readers. FIGURE 10 DART posts instructional videos on YouTube.