Social Media: You Still Need Plain Language
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Social Media: You Still Need Plain Language

Event ID: 2068454 Event Started: 1/9/2013 7:00:00 PM
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>>Good afternoon, everyone. We will be starting shortly. If you’re having technical difficulties,
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>>Hi, everyone and welcome to our session of social media through Digital Gov University
I am — with GSA innovative technology. We have what will be a fantastic webinar for
you today. This is a continuation of our shorter format. It is important that when you get
a feedback card, please fill it out. Today we are going to Social Media: You Still Need
Plain Language. We know what much of the content you do is socially accessible, many times
people can write like a teenager. Shrinking things, making it obscure and it hard to get
your message out. We have today Katherine Spivey who is working in plain language here
at GSA. She was is an active member and trainer for the plane action network also known as
playing. She it teaches plain language courses. She’s going to go through the next 20 minutes
and show you examples of how to write the content the right way and also also tell you
— it is now the law. There is Katherine Spivey.>>Think so much, Justin. This is a Katherine
Spivey talking about plain language in social media. What I am going to do is as you know,
we have a big topic and lots of examples, is go through principles and techniques. And
start showing you slides pages like webpages places I have seen plain language and action
or sadly not in action. So again, here we are, we are having a little difficulties with
the page advancing. Okay.>>I reminder before we get going that if
you have questions which we hope that you will, or comments, you can load them in their
webinar and at the end we will get to as many as we can. Once again here is Catherine.
>>What we will be covering is how social media in plain language intersect and why.
If you are responsible for your social media, you will get a quick update on plain writing
principles, the best practices and strategies and tactics for writing in plain language.
To start with, the question is always, what is plain language? Plain language is a style
of writing that allows readers or viewers to quickly find find what they need to understand
what they read or hear and use what they read to fulfill their needs the first time dead
reader hears or what they read and hear because one of the things social media channels for
us and the government is You Tube. It’s important to get plain language into video as well.
The techniques we will be covering today are reader centric organization, design features,
short sentences and paragraphs, using pronouns. You, we, and others. Using active voicefocusing
on verbs, not nouns. Using consistent terms and not jargon or acronyms and using more
common, everyday words. These are basic plain language. Some things with Twitter, you don’t
have to worry about headers or tables or bullets. And not all of these principles will apply
to all essential media channels. These are important basics to remember. What is — why
do we have plain language? The president signed theplate rack — the plain writing act of
2010 and that mandates that all new government documents that meets criteria is democratic
year it must be written in plain language by October 13, 2011. The essence of this is
is this external facing material material that is destined for internal use, this does
not affected by the plain writing act so — — documents that
provide information about federal benefits
or services and documents that explain to the public how to comply with the federal
requirement. This applies to both paper and electronic letters of the patients forms notices
and instructions and since we are reaching the public, the external public debt is citizens
and other employees of the federal agencies, it applies to social media. One of the first
things to consider this by ider this by reducing headings? I would like to flip over, I’m sorry
I know this is going to be a lot of back and forth and I will make sure that you don’t
get to see sick when I move back and forth. These are just some of the items I found that
worked. Here we go. And here. Here is one of the GSGSA blogs. We have a couple of headers
here. She is a sharesinitial lessons learned. We have bullets, the top five ideas that really
helps people to figure out where things are going. Another similar blog and I should interject
here that this is webinar will be recorded and transcript and the PowerPoint deck placed
on how in the next couple of days or weeks. You don’t have to be writing down everything
were trying to capture the slides timesharing or the links on sharing. This is another blog
for showing headers, tables and bullets. What we have is IT and change management. Yousee
these headers, GSA balancing change and engagement, allows you to scan. You don’t have to read
everything in the blog. That is very important because we found that what people do on line
tablets smart phones whatever, we can’t guarantee that they are going to focus on every particular
page in particular line. Another thing that I want to emphasize although it doesn’t necessarily
fall into the design features that is just headers, bullets and headers, you notice in
the bottom, where it says I will also be the annual GSA training conference, that is a
little note just to reinforce issue of engagement to say I’m going to be there, try to touch
base with me there. That is a very good thing to try and do to get people notices of where
you are going to be. Briefly back to the deck. The nextthing is using lists. I show you some
of the list and some of the blogs. It makes it easier for people to to identify things
that are working for example, use numbers for stuff that is in the process. Some things
that could be followed, use numbers for that. And add blank space so people could read it
so they are not trying to absorb everything in one chunk. Another element is to use short
paragraphs or sentences because it they are easier to digest and scan and easier on the
smart phone. We find more and people are accessing social media on smart phones. Here are some
of the things I had for that. One of these are here is what we have — what we have is
something that is not follow the rules. Except that these are presented as the 12 facts and
who wants to count all the bullets to make sure that the 12. Here are the 12 facts of
HS PD — 12. Inthe paragraphs aragraphs are short. They are easy to scan and get all information
leading to the information about the 12 facts of HS PD 12. There’s engagement also at the
end like in the previous blog. New paragraph begins while I think this would do very well
as a holiday song, you know that is reaching out to the reader say I am hoping this clarify
some things. There’s also going back to ITEN change management, and the IT workplace in
the federal workplace, we have shorter paragraphs up at the top. They could be shorter.That
is almost always a case. It is just a matter of getting used to writing shorter paragraphs
and sentences. I know people like to develop thoughts, but they have to sort of adapt to
the medium and that is certainly something we are doing. Another element here inplain
language. It’s using shorter sentences. That is one of the things that will reduce a lot
of words in your social media. Also using pronouns such as we, for the agency or I,
those help speak directly to the readers. Make sure you writing relevant requires a
lot less work from your readers. It also helps you — what do all those things we want to
do. Althoughsince we saw that is going back to this particular one. This is the IT and
change in the federal workplace, sorry, IT and change management and the federal workplace.
It starts out that now I asked when you’re in light writing the blog, it gives you personal
tone and gives you a relationship with it, she continues under benefits of workplace
innovation, we are beginning another technology change. There’snothing wrong with using pronouns
in social media because it sort of a perfect medium for it. You’re trying to establish
a relationship. Not trying to make it a press release, you want people to read it. Using
pronouns is allowed.Allows people to do that. Incidentally, also easier to write and establishes
a conversational tone we want in blogs and other social media technologies. Anotherelements
that we have is active for lease. And active voice is clear, concise and direct. Assess
voiceis a characteristic of bureaucratese which we do that one tended website and we
don’t want in our social media. We are usingfrom federal agency. And theperfect passive voice
were mistakes were made. Nobody knows who made them they sort of happened, who knows
where they came from. And active and passive voice, and passive voice the person doing
the action follows the verb. Your readers has disentangle each sentence and passive
voice and figure out what’s actually going on. Avoiding passive voice is better here
is a very good example that I found from homeland security that talks about New York city one
month after Sandy. This is a veryparticular blog post that starts with, I’m a native New
Yorker. I was born in New York City. Theseare programs. Active voice. I am, I was, I grew
up in the city, I am a proud New Yorker. I’m honored to be in the team. That gives you
a really straightforward story that you can tell. That really helps the reader engage
with everything. Also, our next point is — rescuing hit — hitting birds. Don’t on’t sound bureaucratic.
To limit jargon and macro to afternoon, use acronyms and in everyday words. I would admit
that I personally admit apostrophes if I’m texting my friend. I’m always in real tweets.
I’m very carefulto keep all those grammar and points. I will abbreviate somethings like
management of government, but I try to stay grammatical because it can really affects
people who —
One of the problems I’ve seen also is sometimes jargon, — see if I could find that that link
again. One of the things I saw the recent blog was something — number 12. Please engage
us in dialogue. That isjargon. It will be better to have written, please contact us,
please help us, get in touch with us, rather than engage us in dialogue. That doesn’t really
take us particularly anywhere. Anothergood focus on that on firms verbs and consistent
terms right here, another DHS, cyber Monday don’t let the Grinch steal your holiday spirit
or passwords. These are very verb, using a lot of verbs. Protect your dollars, use a
credit card check statement, check policies. Keep your operatingsystem etc. up-to-date.
Does all of those things are really good. People need this information. This is — that
they understand. Theydon’t think too hard to follow it. Going back to the plain language
principle. There’s a difference between necessary jargon that his audience words that the audience
will understand and obscure or potential pretentious language. Another way to sort of cut things
and you would’ve seen this everywhere, in all the examples, if you’re going to talk
about your agency, you are allowed to say we. We might need to revise your style guide
to include this. Don’t use acronyms, abbreviations or alphabet soup. You can try another style,try
to make them pronounceable. You can use contractions. They are perfectly grammatical. You mayhave
to abbreviate it. Dealingwith Twitter 140 characters. They are shorter. They will give
you the edge in social media that will give you the space you need. It will help you be
able to address people’s expectations and not only — where they are, but speak the
language what cut that — that your customers speak. We have a couple of things about Twitter.
It’s really hard to go to Long Island Twitter because you have a limit of 140 characters.
There are so many tweets per day, it is very difficult to have your own tweet stand up.
If you’re trying to reinforce your brand, it is a good idea to link if there’s a call
for action if you want people to do something. Link to a webpage or a photo. So you can meet
your readers expectations. Use hash tags. And put your link early in the sentence to
avoid losing people. For example, here are some good tweets from GSA ITS. One problem
is these are the two did having the link at the end if you have the linked in and then
you try to read re tweet, you might break your link and people can go ahead and actually
get to the page they do you want them to get. One of the best practices is to put them up
earlier in the page. That is a small point, but it allows you to maximize the value that
you have. Another one in Facebook. I’m not sure if I can find an example on this. How
long — if you post something they will cut you off at some point and say you have to
get more or see more. If you can, keep it short, add a link, add a video as you and
your photos. Blogs, if your goal is engagement and feedback and comments, keep it as short
as possible and you might even want to follow — his blog models very short. Very short
blog. Barely more than a paragraphor a couple sentences. And YouTube, you are dealing with
a question of people have to sit and listen to everything, they want to get to the point
and it will help with transcriptions and accessibility and all those points. So we have resources,
how t, on-demand webinars on plain language and social media. You can look
at the which is a website for the plain language action and information
network. We have any questions?>>We do. Before we get that that was incredible,
you were right at 20 minutes long. That was perfect. Thank you so much for that info.
We have over 250 people. We are getting to this question, noticeably tentative question.
The first thing is US geological survey makes a point, — if people — — and a Facebook
post, use more.>>Excellent, thank you so much Scott. Something
to remember when creating content. We can verify the number. The? We got to, from Scott,
geological survey, is is there any effort to build of — plain language question.
>>Is there an effort to put going to the ATI or extension for Dreamweaver or word,
so that some some language can be auto change to plain language much like we spell check
in word, but APL check.>>Scott, I am honored with your question,
believe me. That soundslike our hoops — button on the keyboard which will do the same thing,
and simply language. I do not know if anything in development, I will put that out it to
my network to see if anyone knows if there is. I think that sort of stuff — suffering
the same space it’s a lot of software companies. You actually have to know some things about
writing in plain language before you can make the decision. The software or the API, what
have you, raises a question. A person still needs to intervene. I would love there that
to be a giant button on the keyboard that has instant plain because I would be hammering
that.>>You have to have a button that says instant
viral content as well. I would like that. Thank you very much. Of course the idea and
thought, Scott. You don’t have any more questions at this point. Take you again Catherine. It
goes toshow that — for everyone in the — right now we will be doing a blog post we recapping
the post a recording of the webinar online and we will let you know when that comes out.
In the meantime, check out how and visit their retraining and you will see a
lot of material on plain language and all the other social government stuff that is
we have and have and as always, check out the digital of blog that we haven’t some of
the programs, in the meantime thank you for joining us remember to fill out the feedback
forms. Have a great day.>>Thanks so much.
>>[ Event Concluded ]>>

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