Secretary Ray LaHood’s hands-on participation bolsters citizens’ involvement and engagement
On a given day, U.S. Transportation Secretary of Ray LaHood’s blog or Facebook page and retweets are filling up with comments or criticisms. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s challenging, but the best way to manage it is to let it happen,” says Todd Solomon, LaHood’s director of new media. “The secretary is a firm believer in civil debate, and the people love it.”
That’s 3,932 Facebook fans, to be precise—fewer than President Obama’s page but thousands more than you’d expect for any other government official. LaHood’s blog, Fastlane.dot.gov, attracts from 18,000 to 42,500 views a week and consistently ranks second only to the White House’s blog among .gov sites on Technorati.
When transportation stakeholders of all stripes—from biking fans to policy wonks and field workers—came to the site, LaHood and Solomon knew they were on to something.
“We try not to get too caught up in the numbers,” Solomon says. “The most important feedback is hearing from people.”