State Senate Adopts Social Media Policy

Photo courtesy Sen. Shan Tsutsui

The Hawaii State Senate today adopted a social media use policy. The policy provides guidance to users, both internally and among the public.

The use of social media in the public sector is an emerging phenomenon across the country. The Hawaii State Senate is one of the few state senate bodies that have formally adopted a social media use policy. (The House of Representatives has had a policy since 2009.)

“The recent growth of social media use to communicate with government officials and organizations underscores the importance for government agencies to incorporate social media services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr) as integral components to governments’ overarching communication initiatives,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.

“At the same time, it is equally vital that we, as agencies and representatives, harness the potential of these tools in the most appropriate and responsible manner,” he added. “That’s what this policy guides us to do.”

The State Senate endeavors to increase public accessibility to legislative policies and information to best serve the needs of citizens and has found it necessary to explore and embrace the use of social media.

The Senate policy supports the growing adoption of social media by its members and staff while providing guidance and standards of its use to ensure appropriate and effective use, and to be consistent and in compliance with Federal and State rules and regulations.

“Social media is continually changing the way we communicate and engage with one another,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. “While traditional vehicles of communication, such as print and broadcast hold much value, we cannot negate the importance of new and emerging technology. It is important for us to reach out to all of our citizens, and that includes the use of social media. This policy provides the appropriate structure for doing so.”

The Hawaii State Senate Social Media Use Policy includes guidance on social media application, use, security, approval, content, and management. All official accounts will be monitored by the Senate Communications Office to assure compliance with the use policy.

The Senate Social Media Use Policy has been posted online:


For more information, contact:

  • Caroline Julian at (808) 586-6261
  • Cassandra Harris at (808) 586-7148

Photo from Sen. Shan Tsutsui’s Flickr photostream.

Ryan Ozawa

Ryan Kawailani Ozawa has immersed himself in new technologies and online communities since the days before the web. From running a dial-up BBS in the early '90s to exploring today’s dynamic world of "Web 2.0" and social media, he has long embraced and evangelized the ways in which technology can bring people together.