Monday, July 18, 2011

NAGC News & Member Spotlight: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

By all accounts, the 2011 NAGC Communications School was a success, especially considering that a few weeks before the conference, we were thinking that the government shutdown could wreak havoc on the event, especially in terms of the number of attendees. In the end, the shutdown was averted and many of you were able to come at the last minute, as evidenced by our surge in attendees in the final days before the school.

NAGC recently distributed a survey to attendees to get a read on what you thought worked, what didn’t, and ideas you have for future events. Thanks to all of you who responded. As we look to next year’s NAGC Communications School, some of the thoughts you shared in the survey will help shape the agenda in 2012.

A few things stood out as we begin planning for 2012 and review 2011:

  1. The Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Awards are complex! We get widely varying opinions and suggestions on the categories, the time and format of the event, and other details. This year, we conducted the award ceremony at a luncheon rather than dinner, which drew both positive and negative feedback, but in the end, the overriding sentiment was that a dinner event provides more prestige for the winners, so we’ll return to that format in 2012. We also know that you don’t want an event that lasts longer than a Harry Potter movie, so we’re going to address that as well.

  2. Top suggested topics for 2012, in this order: Advanced Social Media, Leadership, Professional Development, Public Involvement/Outreach, and Emerging Technology. This is an interesting mix of subjects, and the Programs Committee will look at adding sessions and workshops that cover these topics next year.

  3. Other suggestions were to incorporate more variety in basic and advanced training levels, so the Programs Committee will be looking to add more sessions in the intermediate and advanced levels of expertise.

  4. You want more opportunities to interact with other communicators. Networking is a huge benefit of the Communications School, and we’re going to step it up in terms of increasing your opportunities to mix and mingle with your fellow communicators.

And remember, if you want more involvement with NAGC, serving on a committee is a great place to start. Right now, Professional Development Director John Verrico is looking to recruit the Programs Committee for next year. The Program Committee selects our General Session and Keynote speakers, Break-Out Session Presenters, Training Workshops, Optional Activities and Educational Tours, menus, entertainment, and Fundraising Events. Interested? Contact John at or

Member Spotlight: Derrick Silas, Sr.
As Communications Director, I too have been looking to form a committee in order to maximize our communications with NAGC members. I’m happy to announce that the first member of my committee is Derrick Silas, Sr. If you were following our social media traffic during the Communications School, you will probably remember Derrick, as he was tweeting throughout the conference. Derrick is the web communications developer and social media strategist for the City of Enid, Oklahoma. When Derrick joined the City of Enid in 2008, there was no social media presence for the city and the websites for the library, fire, police, and municipality were outdated. During his first year, he successfully aided in a 25% increase in website visitors through social media and customer service relations marketing techniques. Additionally, he led the city in a facelift of the website. With this kind of background and experience, Derrick is a natural fit for his new role as the administrator of NAGC’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and he’ll bring more continuity and interaction to these mediums.

He has used his futurist abilities to lead the City of Enid into the forefront of mobile, innovative, social media, crowdsourcing, gov2.0, and other government technologies, including:

  • WEBQA - A customer relations management (CRM) system that allows citizens to request services, report issues, and CityReporter - A mobile app that works with WEBQA.

  • CrimeReports - An interactive map that shows current crime stats.

  • Live Chat by LivePerson - The Enid website provides live chat with its citizens from 8 am to 5 pm CST, Monday-Friday.

  • Nixle - A system that uses text messages (SMS) to alert citizens of public safety issues.

  • "Innovating Enid Idea Market" by Spigit - Two communities (internal/external) that crowdsources ideas with employees and citizens.

  • Social Media - Engages citizens, visitors, and businesses through the city's social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr).

  • YouTown - A free mobile application that shows the city's events, news, maps, and services offered.

Derrick enjoys writing poetry, hymns, psalms, and musical compositions. In addition, in his spare time, he gives voice and musical lessons (piano, guitar, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, flute, drums) to children and adults.

You can interact with Derrick on Twitter - @derricksilas.

By expanding our Communications Committee, and with additions like Derrick, we’ll be able to have more consistent social media communications through NAGC, share more information like case studies, best practices and job opportunities, and help you network better with your NAGC peers.

If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, e-mail me (Glen Thomas) at

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