One of our mantras here at ProudCity is “always getting better.”
The web is constantly evolving, and it’s important for us to incorporate best practices into the ProudCity Platform so that our government partners — and their digital services — constantly best serve their communities.
We continuously strive to improve and build a better digital government product, from new features to enhancements to evaluating the effectiveness of current ones, the latter of which we’re now forced to do for the ProudCity Social Wall.
We also believe that this feature and practice — deeply integrating social media tools into websites — has run its course as a best practice in digital service.
ProudCity Social Wall deprecation
After many months of dealing with social media platform policy and technology changes, it’s now time for us to rethink our approach to how we integrate social media feeds into the government websites we manage.
Because of the evolving nature in the way third-party social media platforms allow access to their data (via an application programming interface, API for short), the ProudCity Social Wall will be deprecated.
We realize this may be disappointing as a popular feature but this is a good thing.
Traditionally, the social wall allowed for a curated feed of multiple social media accounts — such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. However, social media platforms are making it harder to access their APIs and integrate them into websites the way we did with the social wall.
It appears there is a preference that website managers to take a widget-based approach to integrating social media feeds.
Why this is a good thing
Government websites must perform at a high level. Access is critical and download times are an important metric in providing effective digital government service. Removing non-critical integrations — particularly on homepages of government websites — will significantly increase performance.
A good time to audit your digital communications strategy
Government should never rely solely on one particular third party source to disseminate information, as this makes the assumption that everyone in the community uses that platform and is following you. Social media platforms should be leveraged as an extension tool to disseminate and amplify government information. Simply posting to social media then integrating this into a website means you may not be leveraging a holistic and strategic digital communications strategy in the way you should.
Government websites must serve as the single source of comprehensive, reliable government information. When community members visit a government website, they should have access to a timeline of comprehensive, official news all in one location. This means posting news to the website, then using social media to push your community to that information. Ideally, community members should be able to subscribe to this information via email, text or RSS.
What we’ve done
While the social wall feature is no more, we’ve done the following to continue supporting social media integration into ProudCity-powered government websites:
- Created a new ‘Connect’ page layout template
- Created new Facebook and Twitter specific widgets
What you can do
For those who would still like to integrate Facebook and Twitter into your websites, there are two options:
- Review and update your social media strategy
- Create a connect page using the ‘Connect’ page layout template
- Manually add individual Facebook and Twitter widgets to your pages
How you can do this
We’ve create two posts to help you do either or both of these:
- How to set up a social media ‘Connect’ page on your ProudCity-powered government website
- How to add Facebook and Twitter widgets to your ProudCity-powered government website
Always getting better
We’ll never be complacent in how we continuously improve ProudCity and the digital service journey we’re on with our government partners.
If you have questions about any of this, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].
Always getting better.