Interview with Carrie Bartunek, Director of Communications for Ohio Auditor Dave Yost
By Lincoln Rinehart
Social media use in politics has been all the buzz lately with the national election, so I decided to take a closer look at how state and local governments take advantage of the digital universe. Carrie Bartunek is the communications director at the Ohio Auditor’s office where she manages several social media accounts for the office and State Auditor Dave Yost. According to the Ohio Auditor’s website Bartunek has a long history working in media, including working on the administration for former Columbus Mayor Dana G. “Buck” Rinehart, serving as spokesperson for the Columbus Division of Police and communications director at Hilliard City School District.
Q: How does the State Auditor’s office utilize social media? What platforms do you use the most?
A: Bartunek stated that the Auditor’s office uses Twitter most frequently to notify citizens of Audits being released or about important events that the Auditor will be attending. They also use Facebook and YouTube for more detailed content, and are considering adopting Periscope for use at conferences and other events.
Q: Why do you think social media is important to build citizen engagement?
A: “Twitter is important for us to reach people because many reporters are using it to pick up stories,” Bartunek said. “In our world we think the most important social media is Twitter.” Bartunek explained that social media (Twitter especially) helps people become aware of auditing as a public service, and also serves as a platform to provide quick and easy access to public records.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring social media professionals?
A: “Don’t let any post go without having at least two sets of eyes on it. Also think about the audience for each platform.” Bartunek emphasized the importance of being timely and relevant and reaching the audience at times they are likely to be using social media.
Q: What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?
A: Bartunek said the Auditor’s office social media feeds are usually populated with news media accounts, other government entities and politicians. “Media might break news on something we need to know about or be involved with.”
Q: How do you use the responses you get from citizens on social media (if at all)?
A: “We don’t get too many people responding to our content,” Bartunek said. “Most people come to our pages just for information.”
This interview provides an interesting insight to how government entities may use social media, and how their social media practices differ from those working for a commercial brand. Social media platforms at the Ohio Auditor’s office are used mostly to keep citizens informed and educated about auditing services. Rather than attempting to harbor consumers and hope for increased sales numbers, the State Auditor’s social media profiles offer a public service by allowing quick and easy access to public records.