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Washington Update
Policy Coordinator’s Public Policy Report

SPSSI Utilizes Social Networking to Engage Membership, Build Profile
By Christopher Woodside

Social networking is seemingly everywhere these days, with individuals, businesses, non-profits, and even legislators maintaining their own Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and various other online personifications.  Over the course of the past year or so, SPSSI has made great strides in this arena by building and cultivating a sizeable Facebook community of members (over 500 currently registered), in addition to maintaining and growing our fledgling Twitter and RSS features.

Facebook, in particular, is no longer a tool utilized only by college students for spreading the word about the latest hot band or nightclub.  While there is no doubt that it has become a global phenomenon for a great many reasons, one of the most valuable features of Facebook to organizations like SPSSI is the “fan page,” a concept with potential that when fully realized, can be truly advantageous to an active international community. 

Facebook fan pages like SPSSI’s represent globally accessible virtual hubs for memberships that thrive on timely information and instantaneous communication.  Certainly, SPSSI fits the bill in this regard.  In addition to serving as an effective means of bolstering our organization’s overall profile, SPSSI’s Facebook fan page has also been instrumental in sharing information about relevant happenings in Washington, DC, as well as around the world, and in beginning to connect members with similar interests. 

In addition, Facebook allows us to utilize our page for posting links to useful information on third party sites, to embed videos and audio clips of potential interest to members, to share news about upcoming events, and to allow members to offer feedback on various topics of the day.  In certain circles, SPSSI’s presence on Facebook is almost as important, if not more so, than an actual website.  In fact, user statistics indicate that a certain portion of our membership frequents SPSSI’s Facebook fan page far more regularly than our organization’s http-based page.  Times are changing.

Moving forward, we will continue to work to create new opportunities to engage our membership via Facebook, and to be at the forefront of the many new features that are sure to come along in years to come.  In the future, it may be even easier than it is now for SPSSI members to benefit from the various communication opportunities that Facebook has to offer.  There may come a time very soon when research projects rely heavily on this medium for collegial feedback and collaboration.  In fact, for many individuals in various fields, that day is already here.

To this end, we have recently begun to make overtures in hopes of recruiting members with an interest in increasing their involvement with SPSSI’s Facebook fan page by becoming site “moderators.”  Becoming a SPSSI Facebook Moderator is simple and hassle free.  If you or someone you know would be interested in contributing to the contents of our Facebook “wall,” or if you would like to suggest an additional usage idea for the page, please contact Policy Coordinator Chris Woodside at

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