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7 chapter two Literature Review: Overview of Social Media This chapter presents an overview of social media, based pri- service information and updates, including LANTA, marily on findings from the literature review. It includes a DART, and Community Transit in Everett, Washington. brief description of social media, highlights how government Micro-blogging sites, primarily Twitter, which allow uses social media, presents the demographics of social media users to post comments and web links in a format users, and describes approaches to measuring the impacts of limited to 140 characters. Some transit agencies, such these applications. as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Author- ity (WMATA), find Twitter especially well suited for What are Social Media? providing real-time service updates, while Vancouver's TransLink uses the platform to provide customer service. Social media is a term that refers to a number of web-based Media- and document-sharing sites where members applications through which users interact with one another. post and share video clips (YouTube), documents Interactivity is what distinguishes social networking sites (Scribd), and photographs (Flickr). DART makes exten- from traditional (or "static") websites. Social media applica- sive use of YouTube to build community support for its tions encourage users to share their experiences, opinions, services, whereas MTA maintains an image library on knowledge, and sometimes their locations. These connections Flickr for media use. LA Metro's Dorothy Peyton Gray can contribute to a sense of engagement or loyalty among Transportation Library and Archive maintains a collec- social media users. Figure 2 compares the characteristics tion of historic planning documents on Scribd. of traditional media and social media. As the figure shows, Geolocation applications, such as Foursquare, enable traditional media approaches are centralized and focus on users to share their location with other members of their delivering one or more messages to customers. Social media social network and to earn virtual "badges" for checking methods are collaborative and rely on sharing information and into sites. Both BART and TransLink have collaborated soliciting feedback for their effectiveness. Using traditional with Foursquare to develop transit-specific badges for their riders. media--distributing press releases, granting interviews, etc.-- the organization tries to control the message. Using social A glossary of social media terms can be found at the end of media, such as YouTube and Twitter, organizations can post this report. information that individuals can share, comment on, and sometimes modify (1). Government Use of Social Media Following are examples of social media platforms Transit agencies are not alone in their use of social media. commonly used by transit agencies. All quotations from social Agencies and officials at all levels of government, from city media sites were accessed from public posts between July hall to the White House, use social media. According to the 2010 and June 2011. Sources include www.facebook.com, Human Capital Institute, 66% of government agencies used www.twitter.com, and www.youtube.com. Spelling and some form of social networking in 2009, and 65% of those typographical errors were corrected. used more than one tool. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter were the most commonly used web-based tools among these Blogs, or web logs, where individuals or organizations agencies (2). post commentary or news, frequently on a particular topic, and often invite comments and feedback. The Los The Urban Transportation Monitor surveyed transporta- Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Author- tion organizations about their use of social media (3). Asked ity (LA Metro) publishes a daily blog called The Source what social media platforms they used, about half of the UTM to provide news and stories of interest to its riders; El respondents named Facebook (54%) and Twitter (51%); Pasajero is the agency's companion Spanish-language 37% used YouTube. Just over half (51%) said they used blog. another application. Twitter was most commonly used for Social and professional networking sites that encour- brief communications and service updates. Facebook was used age members to connect with one another, such as for announcements and service updates, but also for meet- Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and GovLoop. Many ing notices, community-building, and branding. YouTube transit properties maintain a Facebook page to provide videos covered a wide range of topics, including how-to-ride