Here in the Office of Communications at USDA, we work hard every day to get news and information out the digital door and into the hands of our diverse stakeholders. This steady flow of information takes the form of press releases, tweets, photos, videos, blogs and more. With the growing popularity of social media channels, this flow of information is increasingly a two-way street. In 2011 some of our best resources came from you, our readers. On two occasions we put out specific requests for your photos to personalize issues, and the responses were overwhelming. Through the power of social media, we were able give our audience the chance to help tell the story for us, and that is our number 2 Social Media Moment of 2011.
When First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary Vilsack announced the new food icon, MyPlate, in June, we asked you to snap a picture of your plate and use the hashtag #MyPlate to show us how MyPlate became your plate. Photos of creative plates came rolling in showing us how you use the icon to help build the foundation for your healthy diet. There were - and still are - some healthy and tasty creations posted to Twitter!
Then in October, with rumors of a pumpkin shortage swirling, we asked you again to snap a picture of your holiday pumpkin and send it to us via Twitter using the hashtag #MyPumpkin. The photos poured in and once more helped tell for us the story of a vibrant and robust pumpkin crop - with a lot of creativity and fun.
In both of these cases we were able to use the reach of our social media channels to close the gap between our news and yours, and showcase your stories right alongside ours. They helped transform our channels from a method by which we broadcast, to a method with which you, our audience, can take the reins and show us your USDA.
For our favorite Social Media moments 8-3, be sure to check out the last week's blogs. And don't forget to tune in tomorrow for number 1!