Survey: Gov’t should stick to emails

70 percent of Americans prefer to receive gov’t communications via email

Federal Facebook accounts, Twitter handles and Instagram postings are not impressing the public, according to a new survey that determined 70 percent of Americans would rather hear from the U.S. government via email.

The Accenture survey, the latest in its FedPulse series, asked 500 residents of the national capital region to choose three preferred avenues of receiving government info out of eight options. Snail mail came in at a distant second with 46 percent, while dedicated government websites snuck in at third with 34 percent.

Social media platforms consistently ranked poorly compared to more conventional digital methods, even among millennials, who made up approximately half of the survey group. Only 15 percent of the 500 residents of the District, Maryland and Virginia chose Facebook as a preferred method, while a paltry 7 percent selected Twitter. Millennials indicated only a slight deviation, with 18 percent including Facebook and 12 percent endorsing Twitter.

Despite the exponential growth of the mobile application industry — market researcher App Annie projects that the market for apps could as much as double, to $101 billion, by 2020 — only 13 percent of respondents expressed willingness to use a dedicated mobile app to receive government notifications. Current federal employees — who constituted 13 percent of the survey group — were twice as likely to welcome a mobile app, with 24 percent selecting it as a top three choice.


Even text messaging was apparently too intrusive for the majority of respondents: One in five said they would be comfortable getting government news via text alert, a figure that was consistent across demographics. Least desirable of the options were Calendar Reminders and Voice Recordings, which garnered 5 and 3 percent inclusion rates respectively. 

The survey had a margin of error plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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