NSFG - Not Safe for Government

NSFG is about applied innovation in state, city, and county government. It focuses on things that may appear to be not safe for government but really only sound dangerous - and can put the good back into public good. Bureaucracies resist the new, different, and disruptive. But the intractable problems and tired old processes of government need them. And citizens expect them. NSFG's origins can be traced back to the GovTech Social podcast, which focused on the community of Govies - that is, social media practitioners in state and local government - with tips and tricks for going social in public regarding platforms, policy and practices.
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NSFG - Not Safe for Government



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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 19, 2016

Louisville is a city of 377 neighborhoods and now, thanks to a partnership with Nextdoor, essentially 377 neighborhood social hubs for neighbors to privately socialize and offer advice to one another, browse events, business recommendations and classifieds, and use the app that many use as a neighborhood watch tool.  The added dimension in Louisville is that, under a formal agreement with the hyper local social network, Nextdoor has configured itself around the city's maps of its neighborhood.  It gives the power and flexibility to target messaging to the exact neighborhoods that need to know.

In this special episode of GovTech Social, a wide ranging discussion of strategy, operations, and the key elements of an effective partnership with:

  • Theresa Reno-Weber, the outgoing Chief of Performance & Technology for Louisville Metro Government
  • Chris Poynter, Communications Director for the Mayor's office for Louisville Metro Government
  • Robbie Turner, Senior City Strategist, Nextdoor
Nov 13, 2016


Social media gives public agencies the opportunity to go where the people are - at times and on platforms of their choosing.  Most government agencies have established a presence on the major platforms and experiment with others.  In Dallas, the city is combining the reach of social media with the security of single sign-on to welcome online residents home to suite of services that "know" them and increase the likelihood that the resulting service offerings will be relevant and convenient - and easy to use.

The synergies between social and synergy then provide a city-controlled platform for serving - and marketing to - residents.  It bypasses the need to be everywhere on social media to reach every subgroup. Instead, it produces mass customization - a marketer's dream

Justin Snasel (@JSnasel) is just such a marketer.  Recruited from the private sector, Snasel serves as the  PIO and Manager of Communication Strategy for the City of Dallas

In this episode, Snasel discusses what the city has been able to do on that platform. He is unapologetic about the reality of marketing as the core of social media in government, as it is elsewhere.  Plus we unmask Eco-man, an alter ego created while in Arlington, TX on a shoestring and who went viral.

Plus reflections on the the peaceful transition of @POTUS.



Oct 18, 2016

Delegates to the GovTech Social Unconference in Denver pitched and selected a wide ranging conversation about platforms - how Facebook Live video is being used to break news, how Nextdoor is deepening ties to the community for law enforcement,
and how public agencies are Snapchatting their way into the hearts and minds of 13-24 year olds, and how the occasional autocorrect error can endear you to your followers.

The City of Roanoke's Timothy Martin and Capt. Chris Hsiung of the Mountain View, CA, Police Department talk all about it all on this episode of GovTech Social.

Sep 25, 2016

Brian Purchia, co-founder of CivicMakers, was present at creation when the City of San Francisco began its pioneering work with social media. A long time media and public policy strategist whose career in public service began with the election of Gavin Newsom as mayor.  

Credited for a groundbreaking new media strategy at the time,Brian joins regulars Dustin Haisler, Anil Chawla, and Paul Taylor to reflect on how city governments can and should use social media in case of police-involved shootings that spark public protests.

Our interview with Brian as a new new data tool designed to bring consistent transparency in police of force debuted in California (See a related article in the Wall Street Journal.)


Brian also takes stock of the legacy of his work in developing the nation’s first open data law, open source software policy, and API for government. 

(Eyragon Eidam is on assignment.)

Aug 16, 2016

Chris Weidel, New Media Manager in the Nashville Mayor's Office, keeps a sticky note on her desk with a list of former haters who have come around to the city's side. Chris joins regulars Dustin, Anil, Paul, and Eyragon to talk about an authentic social media voice is for a city, how it works, and why it matters.  

Chris and panel also provide some (unsolicited) practical advice and encouragement for Chippewa County, WI, as it contemplates taking the plunge into social media.

Elsewhere in the episode:

  • Pokémon Go boosts City of Las Vegas engagement efforts;
  • A More Ephemeral Instagram complicates archiving for public agencies;
  • With only months left in the Obama administration, meet the POTUS Messenger Bot.
Jul 18, 2016

Fox and Sirius XM Security Analyst Morgan Wright, who also serves as a Senior Fellow for the Center for Digital Government, discusses building better security defenses for public agencies with regulars Dustin Haisler, Anil Chawla, and Paul Taylor.  Also in this episode, Facebook's own struggles with managing "post wars" in the wake of police shooting of unarmed black men and a pair of gunman ambushes of police officers.

Plus, we announce the dates of the next GovTech Social Unconference - we're coming to the New Mountain West.  Details on the episode.

Jun 12, 2016

Dr. James Toscano - an appointed official, researcher, and a college Communications VP - has a message for government leadership - you are doing social media wrong if you are doing it at all.

In a feature length interview, the fun stuff of social media is fine as far as it goes but it doesn't go far enough.  Toscano's research and analysis makes the case for taking social seriously.

May 17, 2016

Dustin and Anil return from the SMILE Conference with lessons from Law Enforcement Social Media that apply to Govies everywhere.  Plus on the Week in Tweet, pot seeking Twitterer invited to police HQ, blowback against Facebook's editorial choices, and a slew of new features to keep Periscope in the live video game.  Finally, a fond farewell to Boaty McBoatFace.

Apr 9, 2016

The winner of the GovTech Social's Your Question could be Your Ticket scholarship to the second annual Government Social Media Conference asked a particularly important one - what are the best metrics for use in monitoring and evaluation social media programs in government.  The podcast regulars trace the evolution of social metrics and provide context for making choices.

They also debrief with GSMCON creator Kristy Dalton on this year's conference and how she measures success.

GovTech Social cohost and Government Technology staff writer Eyragon Eidam previews a story on one sheriff's office success using collective engagement.

Details are in the show notes at

Apr 3, 2016

Podcast regulars Dustin Haisler, Paul Taylor, Anil Chawla and Eyragon Eidam announce the winner of the #GovTechSocial contest for a scholarship to the second annual Government Social Media Conference in Reno, NV and preview GSMCON2016.  They also discuss the social media lessons to be learned from another contest - the British governments naming of a $287 million polar research ship.  The Internet's choice - Boaty McBoatface - is the latest in a (proud?) tradition of trolling government online.

The hosts also explore the unique use case of BART.  The Bay Area transit agency flipped rider complaints about late and broken trains to draw attention to a system-wide crisis.

Also on this episode, using Twitter to predict activism, protesting, and likelihood to vote for this or that presidential candidate.

Mar 11, 2016

On this episode, details on a scholarship opportunity that could be your ticket to #GSMCON2016 in Reno next month, courtesy of Government Social Media and GovTech Social. (Hint: Tweet your question about social media using #GovTechSocial to enter.)

Also on this episode, a conversation with See Click Fix CEO Ben Berkowitz about what he has learned from almost a decade of pothole, graffiti and illegal dumping reports through the first social media service focused on the relationship between citizens and their government.

And on The Week in Tweet, lessons for public officials who are latecomers to social media from the Veep's recent arrival on Facebook.  Plus the use of humor in maintaining authenticity in your agency's social life.

Feb 23, 2016

Media Cause’s Lindsay Crudelle joins regulars Dustin Haisler, Paul Taylor, Anil Chawla and Eyragon Eidam to discuss Boston's social media practices. Lindsay was present at creation when the city first embraced social media. In the years since, that original social stance - informed by clear policy and solid infrastructure - has served the city well through tragedy and celebration - and more than a few snowstorms.

Lindsay is now on a campaign to help others evolve their social practices from just posting to integrating social into the life of the city.

Plus, on The Week in Tweet, we discuss Boston's Be Like Sebastian meme and the implications of Facebook's reaction buttons for government social media.

Jan 13, 2016

Government Technology writer and Assistant Editor Eyragon Eidam joins regulars Anil Chawla from ArchiveSocial, Dustin Haisler of e.Republic Labs and GovTech's Paul Taylor for a look ahead at social media in state and local government in the year ahead.  On tap:

  • A four part social strategy for 2016;
  • Social media’s essential role in the election campaign;
  • The promise and pitfalls of a 10,000 character Tweet; and,
  • One state legislator’s effort to legislate accident photos off of your social feed.