Mention Facebook, Twitter, or other social media websites and most people will assume these are online ways of staying in touch with friends and family or getting updates on the latest celebrity gossip. But some EERE Recipients use Facebook as a communications tool to improve transparency by enhancing public awareness of projects in real time.
One particular Recipient is using a Facebook account to give a general overview of the project and to provide updates on progress towards meeting project goals. The site includes content in the form of updates on the familiar Facebook “Wall,” as well as additional web pages with more detailed project information (with a link to the actual project website). Updates stretch back nearly 16 months and include a variety of images such as project photos, videos, and graphical displays of technical and scientific information. The photos and videos are also arranged on their own individual pages of the Recipient’s Facebook account. So far there are 28 “albums” with nearly 180 pictures as well as seven videos uploaded to the site.
The project pertains to geothermal energy technology, and Facebook updates discuss drilling from both an operational and technical standpoint. Drilling activities – including discoveries and any delays – are often chronicled on the day they happen. Technical updates include topics such as profiles of the site geology and temperature of water flow encountered in the bore holes.
In this way, the Recipient is keeping the interested public informed of the project’s progress in a transparent way and in almost real time. Because it is a Facebook account, users with Facebook accounts have the option of “liking” the page in order to follow and receive project updates. At present there are several hundred users who “like” the project page.