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Hawaii Senate Adopts Social Media Use Policy

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By Wendy Osher

Sen. Pres. Shan Tsutsui at the Jan. 19, 2011 opening of the 26th Legislature. File photo courtesy Hawaii State Senate Communications.

The Hawaii State Senate this week, adopted a social media use policy, becoming one of the few such entities to formally implement usage guidelines.

“The recent growth of social media use to communicate with government officials and organizations underscores the importance for government agencies to incorporate social media services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr) as integral components to governments’ overarching communication initiatives,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.

“At the same time,” he said, “it is equally vital that we, as agencies and representatives, harness the potential of these tools in the most appropriate and responsible manner. That’s what this policy guides us to do.”

The Senate policy supports growing adoption of social media by its members and staff while providing guidance and standards of its use to ensure appropriate and effective use is consistent and in compliance with federal and state rules and regulations.

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“Social media is continually changing the way we communicate and engage with one another,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.

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“While traditional vehicles of communication, such as print and broadcast hold much value, we cannot negate the importance of new and emerging technology,” he said.

The Hawaii State Senate Social Media Use Policy includes guidance on social media application, use, security, approval, content, and management. All official accounts are to be monitored by the Senate Communications Office to assure compliance with the use policy.

“It is important for us to reach out to all of our citizens,” said Galuteria, “and that includes the use of social media. This policy provides the appropriate structure for doing so.”

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By implementing the usage policy, the State Senate aims to increase public accessibility to legislative policies and information.

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