NYC Digital part of the mayor's office of media and entertainment


Following the success of Engage NYC 2011, NYC Digital hosted the second annual Engage NYC: Digital Media in Government summit on October 19, 2012 at Google’s Headquarters in New York. Nearly 200 social media, communications and press staff from across city government attended the event, featuring presentations from external social media partners, a panel on digital communications, an update on the State of the Digital City, the unveiling of the City’s Social Media Style Guide as well as an awards ceremony recognizing agencies’ outstanding work in digital media.

The morning began with welcome remarks from William Floyd of Google and the City’s Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Haot. A surprise guest keynote David Karp, founder and CEO of New York social media startup, Tumblr, gave an inspiring talk on New York City’s digital presence and the vital role digital media has in our culture today.

This year, the event introduced “Strategic Digital Media and Your Agency,” a panel discussion on the challenges and strategies for running social media in city government. The panel included City officials Amanda Konstam (Deputy Director of Public Affairs), Julie Wood (First Deputy Press Secretary), Katherine Winningham (Senior Counsel, Law Dept), Rachel Haot (Chief Digital Officer) and moderator, Ivy Li (Digital Communications Director).

Following the panel, Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot and Digital Communications Director Ivy Li presented the “State of the Digital City,” an update on the progress that has been made since last year’s Engage NYC summit. Today, the City reaches 5.5 million individuals through its digital properties, including social media channels, texting campaigns, mobile apps, newsletters and The presentation highlighted new and approved social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and SoundCloud, and the new City Social Media Style Guide. The style guide provides agencies with key points on how to establish a consistent brand to better inform and engage the public throughout the City’s 280+ social media channels.

Next, presentations by representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ provided best practices on social media strategy as well as a look ahead at new features of each platform.

Katie Harbath, Policy Manager at Facebook, presented on new features including Timeline, targeting posts and sponsored and promoted stories. Katie emphasized the virality of posting visually engaging content such as photos and videos, giving your fans access to exclusive information and experimenting with posting in the evenings when more users are on Facebook.

Glenn Otis Brown, Director of Business Marketing(Media) at Twitter , discussed the growth of Twitter in the past few years and that there are more than 400 million tweets daily. Glenn also highlighted Twitter’s new features, including a new profile design, functionality that allows tweets to be embedded into a webpage or blog as well as the ability to embed interactive video in tweets. Furthermore, Glenn shared examples of objects that tweet and innovative ideas to inspire the audience.

Liba Rubenstein, Director of Outreach at Tumblr, took a deeper dive into the City of New York’s presence on Tumblr. With over 122,000 new users each day, Tumblr has grown significantly and so has its footprint within City agencies. Since the last Engage NYC summit, agencies have collectively launched 22 Tumblr blogs and have generated 3,000 posts this year. Liba showed in-depth stats on where NYC Gov’s Tumblr’s followers are located, top posts, top tags and some ideas for Tumblr blogs going forward such as using the Q &A feature, encouraging submissions and bringing archives and historical information to life.

Sally Simms, head of Media Outreach at Google, walked the audience through ways agencies could use Google+ to connect with a larger audience. Sally highlighted platform features, including hangouts, circles, sharing photos and getting discovered on Google search with over 2 billion Google searchers now able to view Google+ social content.

In addition, following each platform presentation, NYC Digital played a video demonstrating an agency that is actively and creatively using the featured platform:

The NYPD uses Facebook to engage with the public using a variety of different posts including trivia, vintage photos, news stories and user submitted photos.

311 engages with its customers using Twitter to respond to 311 service requests and supplies timely information that the public would find useful.

The FDNY shows the artistic side of the department through pictures of firefighters in the field posted to Tumblr.

Julie Wood from the Mayor's Press Office discusses Instagram and how she uses the platform to share behind-the-scenes and NYC-centric photos.

Following a meet-and-greet lunch, the event concluded with the City’s first Engage Awards. The awards highlight agencies’ outstanding work on digital media and were presented by members of the Social Media Advisory and Research Taskforce (SMART). Winners were nominated and voted for by their peers prior to the event. There were 12 different categories that awards were presented in. The following agencies were recognized with an Engage Award:

To share your feedback and experience with Engage, or to ask questions related to the event, please contact NYC Digital at

You can find additional information on the event, download presentations, access the City's Social Media Style Guide and watch recorded segments of the day by visiting CityShare on the intranet.

Thank you to Google for generously hosting and supporting the event. And thank you to all the guest presenters and keynote speaker, David Karp. And finally, thank you to the City’s hardworking social media, communications and press staff for dedicating their day to the second annual Engage NYC summit and for all of their amazing work in digital media achieved so far.