A year in the life of a Twitter account
The King County Elections Twitter account was born January 2012. How did we use the account that first year? And how has that use changed, four years later?
- Shortly after joining King County Elections as webmaster, I set up a Twitter account for the department.
- We started by tweeting basic election information. Fortunately, we had the account when we had to close the office due to a weather emergency.
- We began using the USA.gov URL shortener (via bit.ly) for tracking. The .gov extension provides a legitimacy that other URL shorteners did not.
- One of our key messages centered on helping King County residents register to vote. Another was to encourage voters to contact us if there was a problem with their ballot. So of course we used Twitter to share that information.
- Occasionally, we would retweet or share information from the Washington Secretary of State, the main King County account, or one of our cities. We are careful to avoid politics while encouraging civic participation and education. This is one way we give back to the community.
- The KCE communications assistant and I worked together to plan and schedule tweets. Because there were two different people tweeting, we used the standard signature of initials. Notice that we have begun using the hashtag #waelex which, four years later, is still an active hashtag for Washington state electoral politics.
- And of course, we used Twitter to alert citizens and media that we had updated results information.
- When we launched our mobile-optimized website for results and ballot return locations, we announced via Twitter.