PORTLAND, Ore. --
The acronym-laden and typically dry use of social media by many federal agencies is … understandable, but there are exceptions. One is Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Facebook Page. It’s so different, in fact, multiple media outlets have written stories about its quirky nature.
The eccentric page highlights District activities, its purpose and provides useful information – but it does so through humor, speedy (for the government) responses and Adobe Photoshop. None of it would be as effective without the page’s social media manager, Chris Gaylord.
“The reality is that a lot of what I do with the district’s Facebook page is personality-driven and not necessarily a learned skill,” said Gaylord. “But it’s grounded in the pretty basic idea that communication on social media, which is a place most are going largely for entertainment, should resonate with people in some way.”
For perspective, a Nov. 4, 2021 post about safety during king tides reached 252,801, received 9,164 reactions and had 2,785 shares. Those are massive numbers considering the page only has 8,300 followers. Not every post performs that well, but the page still gets recognition for its approach.
In a Nov. 26, 2021 article, Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor, wrote:
“Government bureaucrats are known for many things but humor, I submit, wouldn’t make the top 10 on anybody’s list. Indeed I suspect many people would argue that the larger share of bureaucrats, at least while engaged in their frequently dour business, are utterly incapable of anything resembling comedy. (Intentional comedy, anyway; bureaucracies are prone to doing amusing things, unwitting though these may be.) Given the relentless banality characteristic of government operations — and in particular the way they communicate with the public — I always get a particular thrill when I run across an exception.”
The District’s page even made Willamette Week’s ‘Best of Portland 2020’ list with the headline, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Facebook Page Is More Entertaining Than You Think … In between innocuous updates on the Bonneville Dam and the proper way to wear a life jacket, the posts get more eccentric.”
So, stop on by at facebook.com/PortlandCorps, or if you’re interested in a more straight-forward approach on social media, Portland District has that too – on Twitter: twitter.com/PortlandCorps.
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