Social Media Records Management

Federally-compliant Records Management for Social Media

Since the first presidential tweet in January 2010, sent by then President Barack Obama, the medium has exploded as a way for government officials to make public announcements.  Since his inauguration in 2017, President Trump has made Social Media not just a means, but perhaps the means, for his office’s announcements.

This shift follows the trends at large, as Social Media overtakes print for the first time in global advertising revenue earlier this year. Traditional radio announcements, TV ads and print media, are still useful ways to reach out to the broader public, but many budgets simply can’t afford traditional media’s high-cost per impression, and its comparative effectiveness is increasingly up for debate.

Social media is now recognized as a powerful and inexpensive tool for engaging the public, to make announcements, and to educate, no matter what size the agency or their budget.  It’s no wonder that every agency and office up to the President has begun to leverage these effective tools for low-cost/high-impact outreach.   

But be forewarned — many agencies forget that Social Media posts constitute official government records and need to be managed according to the letter of the law. 

NARA Bulletin, ‘Guidance on Managing Social Media Records’
The Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. 3301) defines Federal records as any material that is recorded, made or received in the course of Federal business, regardless of its form or characteristics, and is worthy of preservation. Social media content that meets this definition must be managed according to the applicable laws and regulations.” 

NARA makes the point very clearly, but it may underplay the concrete importance of Social Media as record.

As of March 2019, 73% of Americans interviewed by Pew Research Center report that they get some or all of their news from Social Media.  It’s clear that Social Media constitutes a strategically significant method for agencies to make announcements to the public, but if they’re going to use Social Media for official business they’ll have to align with NARA’s guidance.

Feith will ensure your social media presence remains compliant with all federal records regulations and guidelines.  Reach out today to learn more about our new Social Media archive solution, backed by our complete Government Records platform:


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