What is Social Media Archiving for Government, Education & Healthcare?

Archiving social media is kind of like getting car insurance. Except instead of receiving money in case of a wreck, you have records and evidence in case of a public records request. A social media archive allows governments and other entities to engage safely with their community online by recording posts, media, and comments from the agency’s page. Similar to how car insurance gives you peace of mind to drive that fiery, red T-bird around town. (Vroom, Vroom!)  I know, a few of you would rather just have the car and ride off into the sunset leaving social media in the dust. Let’s talk about why that’s a bad idea.

Saving Social Media

Before we leave the social media networks to drown their sorrows in a tub of rocky road, let’s consider everything social media has helped government and school districts achieve.

First, government agencies that keep an ongoing, open dialogue with residents and members of their community on social media see a rise in trust between government employees and residents.

Second, this increase in community awareness increases overall community involvement.

Finally, school districts that have a strong social media strategy for building engagement with parents, teachers, students, and their broader community have seen an increase in fundraising support and even an increase in housing prices as more families move to the district.

Have you stopped looking for your car keys yet? No?

Let’s take a quick history break.

Why has social media archiving become so important?

When the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was first established in 1967, the goal was to encourage government transparency and build civic trust that had been damaged during the Vietnam Era. Since then, every state in the nation not only recognizes FOIA as an important legal requirement but has created its own guidelines. From Florida Sunshine laws, New Jersey’s Open Records Act to the Texas Public Information Act, states across the country recognizing the importance of promoting public records transparency.

Archiving social media isn’t just like car insurance. It’s also like the courtroom reporter that types and records everything that’s said. It makes sure there is a complete record of everything that happens, and that when citizens exercise their freedom to request that information, it’s available, searchable, and usable.

It is important to remember that government records aren’t based around the medium, they are based on the content.

If a change in policy is in a press release, it is a government record. If a change in policy is in a social media post, it is a government record. If a citizen makes a statement or question about policy in a public meeting, it can be subject to public records. If a citizen makes a statement or question about policy in the comments section of a social media post, it can be subject to public records. You get the idea. And this underscores the need for you to be on social media because more people turn to social media for their news and to find reliable answers to their questions. If there’s an emergency, do you want to be the one responsible for sharing important information? No? Then my Aunt Nancy will take care of it. (Spoiler alert: You do not want my Aunt Nancy giving people advice if there is an emergency.)

Similarly, healthcare organizations can reduce risk with regulatory compliance with social media archiving. HIPAA guidelines encourage healthcare entities posting on social media maintain a record of posts, edits, and the format of social media messages. Social media archiving for healthcare has become increasingly important since the public health pandemic of 2020 for record keeping and combating the spread of misinformation.

Preserving History by Protecting Open Dialogue

Of course, FOIA laws and public record retention requirements present just some of the reasons why you should archive social media. There’s also tons of historical value in keeping social media records.

20 years from now, when your agency has been using social media for 25 or 30+ years, it will be valuable to easily go back and view past social media records. You’ll be able to see things like how your organization handled communicating during a specific election cycle or how critical information was shared during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Should You Archive Your Social Media?

These laws on archiving ensure that public agencies remain transparent to the taxpayers.

When it comes to how you archive social media, let’s be honest, you have options. Most agencies are choosing between screenshots, relying on social media networks, or social archiving software. If you are a busy agency that is trying to make a difference in your community, you know that spending hours saving screenshots or printing comment threads is not the best use of your time. Hey, compare the benefits of using a social media archiving solution for yourself below:


How should you archive your social media image

Considering how these social media platforms are not bound by public records and FOIA laws, they have no obligation to retain data for you. They aren’t afraid to admit that they don’t keep records of deleted posts. See this example from Facebook below:

Faceboook post delete message - gone in 30 days

What to Look For in a Social Media Archiving Tool?

Social media archiving tools provide an easy, searchable and accurate archive of your social media content that securely protects your records with minimal time and effort from you. Social media archiving, unfortunately, can’t make mean comments go away. Nor can it promise you will never receive a records request for social media. You need a solution that can promise an easy, searchable and accurate archive of your social media content that captures records in near real-time.

Ready to Try Social Media Archiving, Risk-Free?

Start a free 30-day trial of ArchiveSocial to sample your organization's social media archive. Start archiving in a matter of minutes!

You want an archiving solution that works with the top social media platforms to make sure your accounts are continuously connected and are saving every record possible. Deleted comments? You need that! Metadata? You need that! Historical posts? You need that, too!

The ArchiveSocial Difference

We provide a digital archiving solution that helps government agencies and school districts remain compliant with ever-growing public record law. Comments, posts, pictures, and videos are automatically saved in our SSAE 16-certified cloud datacenter. It usually takes less than five minutes to become compliant, and your records are saved in near-real-time. This means we capture and save social media comments even if they are deleted in the future. That’s it! No more screenshots. No more printouts. No more lost records. If you need records from a specific topic, platform, or time period, then you can export in a variety of formats.

Your Happily Ever After

See, you really can have it all! You and social media ride into a fruitful and positive relationship together. Though in full transparency, we can’t provide the car. If you would like to learn more about the technology and benefits of using ArchiveSocial to save your social media records, check out our solution overview to see how quickly you and social media can get back to building community relationships and leading your narrative, so my Aunt Nancy doesn’t have to play community watchdog and can go back to sending me chain messages every holiday. Love you too, Aunty N.