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Game Commission Expands Its Social Media Outlets

Recognizing the benefit of new communications tools available to reach a broader audience, the Game Commission Thursday joined social media in a big way by unveiling a Facebook page, as well as destinations on Twitter and YouTube.
            Most of the Game Commission video postings on YouTube are in high-definition, and nearly all of those are broadcast-quality for use by television news stations.
            “Facebook has been giving people the power to share information and make the world more open and connected since 2004,” said Lori Neely, who heads up the Game Commission’s social media efforts. “Millions of people use it everyday to keep up with friends and family; share photos, videos and links; and learn more about the people, places and organizations that interest them.
            “We invite everyone who follows Pennsylvania wildlife and the Game Commission to explore these new pages and to interact with others with ‘like’ interests. It’s an unprecedented chance to share experiences, learn about wildlife and wild places and to make some new friends. We will be posting wildlife and conservation tidbits, incredible wildlife photos and videos, and information on a variety of topics, ranging from hunting and trapping to birdwatching.”
            Neely also urged those interested in staying on top of the latest news from the Game Commission to follow the agency’s Twitter feed or browse the agency’s YouTube videos, both of which will be accessible from the Facebook page, or the agency’s website.
            “If you prefer getting capsulated news and quick updates on your phone, perhaps our Twitter feed will suit you better,” Neely said. “You’ll enjoy many of the same posts as our Facebook friends along with re-tweets that feature Game Commission activities.”
            While announcing its step into the world of social media, the Game Commission also has been taking advantage of new technologies to reach a greater audience and provide increased access to agency actions and information.
            “We’ve been testing the waters recently by securing addresses and accounts in the Game Commission’s name just to see if people were looking for us, and what type of devices they were using to access Game Commission information,” said Joe Neville, Game Commission Bureau of Information and Education. “Google started to report mobile device analytics recently, which showed that, in the third quarter of 2011, there were 121,550 total visits to our website on mobile devices. About 47 percent of the visitors were ‘new,’ first-timers from the device they used, which indicates mobile devices are growing quickly in popularity.
            “Our experiment with a mobile device version of the 2011-12 migratory game bird brochure was very well received. Of the nearly 33,100 downloads of this brochure from our website in most recent reporting period, 8,482 were for the mobile device version. This foray into trying to meet mobile device demands shows that we’re going to have to remain cognizant of the growing needs of stakeholders who have modified or personalized the way they gather information and news.”
            Neville said the agency also has been posting video clips, including statements from agency officials, in concert with recent news releases to enhance the news media’s opportunity to share wildlife-related information with readers, listeners or viewers.
            Neely pointed out the agency’s first measured steps into the social media world started a few years ago with the webcasting of a bluebird nesting box at the agency’s headquarters, the annual elk license drawings and quarterly meetings of the Board of Game Commissioners.
            “We began with the simple premise of how can we make the Game Commission the most accessible to the largest audience within our current technologies and budget,” Neely said. “Webcasting video from a bluebird nesting box by the agency’s headquarters was very popular, and was being accessed by people as far away as England. The next logical step was to begin broadcasting the quarterly Board meetings and the annual public drawing to award the limited number of elk licenses.
            “Also, to provide easy viewing of some of our video projects, we have been posting clips of deer management programs, tours of State Game Land habitat and wildlife research projects on a YouTube account. From there, it was only a matter of time until we were ready to begin taking steps into the arena of Facebook and Twitter.”
            Neely noted that the agency’s popular monthly magazine – Pennsylvania Game News – is available to subscribers both in a hard copy that is mailed to them and an online version through “Nxtbook,” a Lancaster-based digital publishing service that helps market and distribute digital editions of printed material. 
            Nxtbook editions of PA Game News that are more than one year old are accessible without a subscription, and iPhone users can view PA Game News using the “Nxbook Nxtstand” app.


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