AHRQ Blog Policy

Social Media Policies and Tools

Social Media Policies and Tools for Blogs

About Blogging

A blog is a Web site that features regular postings of commentary; descriptions of events; or other material, such as graphics, video, or podcasts. Individuals, organizations, or small groups of individuals maintain blogs, which are typically written in a conversational tone.

The Federal Government uses blogs as communications tools because they put a human face on the Government, provide a more personal way to convey a message, get people involved in a conversation, and foster discussion around a common interest. Due to resource limitations, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) currently does not maintain a public blog.

Blog Content

The purpose of each blog and blog post is to strategically disseminate the most up-to-date and relevant information. All blog posts will be subject to review by OCKT or the appropriate program staff.

Interactivity Guidelines

Blogs place a high value on interactivity, namely readers commenting on blog posts and asking the blogger questions. The ability to comment allows blogs to create a community, enables readers to become stakeholders and contributors, generates discussion and ideas, and permits transparency and engagement.

All AHRQ blogs must include a link to the Comment Policy.

In cases where the Comment Policy does not address a specific issue concerning an interaction, OCKT will work with an appropriate representative of the AHRQ portfolio to address the issue or question before a response is posted.

Recordkeeping

AHRQ bloggers must keep records of blog comments. Email Pat Bosco, AHRQ's Records Management Officer, at patricia.bosco@ahrq.hhs.gov to determine the appropriate records schedule and records management practices.

Approval and Set Up

To create a blog, meet with the appropriate Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) Strategic Planner to discuss managing and supporting the blog. Consider the following: Target audience, objectives, activities, technical requirements (e.g., 508 compliance, video formats), and resources needed to coordinate the blog. Keep in mind that AHRQ views the blog audiences as consumers, not health professionals, researchers, or service providers. After meeting with the Strategic Planner, complete the AHRQ Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help) and send it to socialmedia@ahrq.hhs.gov.

Additional Guidelines

OCKT asks that staff follow these guidelines:

  • Posts should be concise and written in plain language. Go to http://www.ahrq.gov/news/plainlanguage.htm for additional guidance on plain language.
  • A best practice in blogging is for posts to come from the person authoring the post, not a ghostwriter.
  • Posts should highlight AHRQ campaigns, toolkits, Web conferences, events, presentations, research findings, publications, etc.
  • More information on HHS blog best practices is available from HHS Center for New Media.
  • Send all additional questions to socialmedia@ahrq.hhs.gov.

Return to AHRQ's Social Media Guidelines

Current as of August 2012
Internet Citation: AHRQ Blog Policy: Social Media Policies and Tools. August 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/policy/social-media/blogs/index.html