NASA Takes Top Marks In Public Sector Social Media IQ; Tea Party Patriots "Feeble" [Study]

By Lauren Dugan Comment

NASA is the most social media-savvy public sector group in the US according to a study released yesterday. The Digital IQ Index: Public Sector from the George Washington School of Business and digital think tank L2 ranks 100 different public sector groups on their effective use of social media. We’ve got the top ten social media-savvy public entities, as well as which groups failed this IQ test miserably, below.

The report measures “Digital IQ” by looking at a variety of digital attributes. These include the organization’s website, digital marketing (including SEO, blog mentions and email), social media (divided into Facebook, Twitter and Youtube), and mobile.

The public sectors that this report examines include the executive branch of the government, independent agencies, advocacy groups, the armed forces, political parties, industry associations, and multilateral organizations.

When all the facets of Digital IQ were added up, NASA came out on top as the number one organization in the public sector. The report notes that “NASA is in its own stratosphere, experimenting with the latest technologies from geo-local to 3-D animation.” Remember the NASA FourSquare badge unlocked late October? This first extra-terrestrial check-in is part and parcel of what makes NASA the leader of the Digital IQ pack.

The top 10 public organizations from the study include:

  1. NASA
  2. The White House
  3. PETA
  4. U.S. Army
  5. Democratic National Committee
  6. World Wildlife Fund
  7. Republican National Committee
  8. The Nature Conservancy
  9. American Association of Retired Persons
  10. Department of State

Notable digitally-challenged organizations (those who ranked 50 or below) include the Department of Justice, Tea Party Patriots, Motion Picture Association of America, and the World Trade Center.

So which organizations were the absolute worst on the list? Well, the bottom five organizations, in reverse order from 100th to 96th, included:

  1. Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America
  2. Universal Postal Union
  3. International Civil Aviation Organization
  4. National Transportation Safety Board
  5. United Nations Industrial Development Organization

These five garnered such descriptions as “obsolete”, “dark ages”, and “signs of age” – never good descriptors for organizations looking to brand themselves and engage with the public online, where young, fresh and current are the desired traits.

What’s really interesting about this study is how important social media is becoming to the online presence of the public sector. Take a look at the chart below:

Facebook and Google are neck-and-neck for the number one source of traffic for the above organizations, and Twitter and Youtube are each among the top eight sources for five of the six organizations examined.

L2 has produced several other Digital IQ projects over the past few months, examining how the luxury sector and politicians fare within the digital world of social media.