State Highway Safety Showcase
Social Media Sites
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has established a presence on four popular web-based social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger. These sites will allow for wider dissemination of news releases, traffic alerts and other important messages to motorists.
While social networking websites are popular among younger drivers who favor the Internet over traditional forms of media, they are also becoming increasingly popular among all users of the Internet. Government agencies, including several other state transportation departments, are using new media tools such as social networking sites to enhance their efforts to provide information to the public.
Social networking sites function differently than standard web pages and feature the consolidation of different information sources onto one page, often with information “pushed” to them. These websites generally require individuals to register and select sources they wish to “follow” with updates flowing to their social networking pages automatically.
“We hope this new initiative will provide another venue so that we can better serve the motoring public,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “The Department hopes to broaden its reach to the public by staying abreast of changes in information technology, and this will complement the traditional methods of informing the public of important changes with Rhode Island’s transportation infrastructure.”
RIDOT's social networking pages will be updated at the same time RIDOT issues press releases, traffic advisories or other news. Among the automated information updates available to those who chose to follow these sites are regular traffic alerts providing brief statements about time and location of crashes, disabled vehicles or other problems that might block travel lanes or otherwise slow down traffic.
The sites RIDOT will now be providing updates to include:
Sometimes called a micro-blog, Twitter allows user to establish their own pages and choose which sources to follow. Anyone can view Rhode Island's Twitter page directly at http://twitter.com/RIDOTnews. The site even has tools to allow users to receive updates, commonly called “tweets” by text message on their cell phones. RIDOT strongly discourages motorists from accessing Twitter or any of these websites on their cell phone while driving.
The RIDOT blog is located at http://ridotnews.blogspot.com. This page will be home to press releases, podcasts, and other announcements, and will feature slideshows of active RIDOT projects and videos.
Facebook requiries visitors to register for the service, but the RIDOT page will be publicly accessible. The Department will use the site much like Blogger for listing of news and traffic advisories and graphics, videos and pictures. Facebook users can view RIDOT’s Facebook page by typing Rhode Island Department of Transportation into the search field. Becoming a “fan” of the page allows for easier navigation.
MySpace is similar to Facebook. The RIDOT page will host news and traffic information as well as graphics, videos and pictures. The RIDOT MySpace page is located at http://www.myspace.com/446120806.
RIDOT will continue to use its main website, www.dot.ri.gov, to provide a wide range of information related to the Department and its activities.
- Dana Alexander Nolfe
Chief Public Affairs Officer
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Phone: 401-222-1362 x4450