A few days ago, Mark Drapeau posted a blog here on GovLoop and several other places around the web, asking “Five Big Questions About Government 2.0 in 2011.” In my response to that post, I took issue with Mark’s blanket statement that “government practitioners’ use of social media is not very sophisticated, does not take advantage of the latest tactics and tools, and does not necessarily improve the dialogue around big issues citizens really care about – the economy, jobs, national security, health, and the environment.”
I suggested that Mark had merely joined a chorus of voices that quickly criticize government agencies without giving equal time to the demonstration of bright spots or pockets of progress in the government 2.0 movement. As a result, I am endeavoring to write a five-part series that counters Mark’s “five big questions” with concrete examples in response to each question — agencies and employees that are advancing the kind of government that should make fellow citizens and civil servants proud.
Q1: Who are the public faces of government agencies online?
Do you know these faces? They are (clockwise from top left): Jake, Joanne, Marietta, Arlene, Ginger, Carolyn and Stephanie. These faces may not be “famous” like some of the local celebrities Mark cites as brand ambassadors, but they are dedicated civil servants who pitch in to provide consistent content for citizens every day of the week via the GovGab blog – one of the first and most frequently updated of any government blogs. Recent GovGab posts include helpful information about e-filing taxes, a travel warning for Egypt and a guest post by an IRS colleague which highlights that agency’s online recruitment efforts.
You might recognize a couple of these faces from the Government 2.0 movement. Most noteworthy is David Wennergren (lower right). You might also want to meet (clockwise from Mr. Wennegren): U.S. Army Col. Mike Wehr, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Defense for Energy Tom Hicks, Navy medical researcher Dr. Wayman Wendell Cheatham and USAF Chief Scientist Dr. Werner J.A. Dahm. Why? Well, if you’re interested in stabilizing Afghanistan, developing alternative fuel technologies, improving health care for men and women serving in the Navy and enabling even greater capabilities for our Air Force, then you want to thank these gentlemen. Of course, you won’t see their faces in the podcast, but you will hear the voices of valiant men with brilliant minds. Oh, and I would be remiss without a special shout-out to host John Ohab (who is trying to make this video go viral).
Meet Melanie, Lakegan, Michelle, Kawa, Diane and Kent – all employees of the US Geological Survey who are lending their time and insight to engage with over 3,000 Facebook fans. A couple months ago, Scott Horvath shared with the GovLoop community that USGS was going to try a new approach with their Facebook page. Their goal: invite individual employees to help citizens “learn more about the science we’re involved with at the USGS–climate change and land-use, ecosystems, natural hazards, water issues, energy, minerals & environmental health–and more.” Since they launched over the holidays, I suspect they’re really just getting started, but this is an incredibly promising project and pushes the boundaries of citizen engagement beyond the traditional communications and public affairs folks in agencies.
So there you have it – my first of five big answers to @cheeky_geeky’s provocative post.
How is your agency, city or state providing a public face
to the important work you perform every day?