- Easy to embed on most websites
- Open publishing platform
- Cross-platform access
- Not ideal for sensitive information
- Lacking substantive analytics
Congressional offices have taken advantage of the Scribd e-reading platform to communicate key messages, distribute information to the press and constituents, and streamline external information transfer.
Scribd in Congress
The platform is authorized for the sharing and distribution of digitized, non-sensitive information for press and external communication purposes. Traditionally used for e-reading, Congressional staffers utilize Scribd as a means to promote key messages with relevant documents backing those messages.
Member offices simply need to set up an account, upload the necessary documents, and publish them on to the platform. Users can create and manage document descriptions, control privacy settings, and track the number of views.
Embed codes and WordPress
Scribd’s social media integrations include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as traditional email. Posts can be embedded into any webpage or blog post through HTML script or WordPress-native shortcode. Scribd also supports several file types, including: pdf, txt, ps, rtf, epub, key, odt, odp, ods, odg, odf, sxw, sxc, sxi, sxd, doc, ppt, pps, xls, docx, pptx, ppsx, and xlsx. All files can be uploaded individually or in batches.
Some things to keep in mind
Due to the social nature of the platform and its inability to protect selective information from unwanted access, Scribd hasn’t been approved by the House CAO for sensitive information use.
This platform also doesn’t produce valuable insights when it comes to the number of people who view a particular document, forcing users to observe interactions through the comments section of each page and a “thumbs up thumbs down” rating system. Scribd only tracks user views and positive and negative interactions through comments and a “thumbs up-thumbs down” rating system. Users should implement external analytics suites, like Google Analytics or Quantcast Measure, to acquire substantive insights, like tracking the performance of the webpage where the document is embedded on.
Pricing & alternatives
Users can upload documents at no charge but have limited access to the platform. The only time a purchase is rendered is when an unlimited paid membership is purchased for $8.99 per month. The premium membership grants users unlimited access to Scribd’s e-reading features, including thousands of news publications.
Scribd is lacking compared to traditional cloud document sharing platforms. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive offer secure storage features with far more sharing and collaboration options.
What we think
Press secretaries and communications staffers could benefit from Scribd. The embedding features and integrations with mainstream social media networks give offices the ability to easily upload, publish, and share documents for members of the press and their constituencies. While cost-effective, Scribd isn’t the ideal tool for sharing sensitive information or compartmentalizing communications.