NARA Opens Comments for Revised Social Media Strategy

MARA Blog

Published: September 21, 2016 by Anna Maloney

In 2010, the U.S. National Archives released its first social media strategy. The three-page document covers NARA’s core values for social media (collaboration, leadership, initiative, diversity, community, openness) and strategies for revolutionizing communication and collaboration within the staff community, engaging with the government community, and building and strengthening relationships with researchers and citizen archivists. It is, in a word, quaint.

Cut to the 2016 iteration of the National Archives Social Media Strategy. It’s an interactive GitHub page that lists specific action steps to support the goals of the 4-year plan:

1. Tell great stories
2. Deepen engagement
3. Grow the audience
4. Cultivate a community of practice

And there is certainly is a lot more to manage. Since 2010, NARA’s social media presence has grown to 130 social media accounts on 14 different platforms, requiring the collaboration of over 200 National Archives staff. But the quantity of social media accounts isn’t the only factor that informs social media strategy. An effective planning document goes beyond simple goal statements; it should identify the specific actions that support the desired outcomes.

Dr. Pat Franks, the MARA Program Director, has been conducting research on government, social media, and trust in information for the InterPARES Trust Research Project. As MARA students move through the program, they are also encouraged to think critically about how archivists and records managers can both preserve social media records and harness social media influence.