2010 was another banner year for Gov 2.0. At Rock Creek, we not only work in this field; we also advocate for it and chronicle it in weekly blog posts. These “round-ups” consistently draw the most eyeballs to our
site, and so we thought we’d republish our 10 favorite stories from the
past 12 months. In descending order:
10. You’re in the cab and on your way to the airport when you realize that your ID is not in your wallet; is there any chance you’ll still be able to get on your flight? Travelers can get answers to these
questions and more by simply directing their iPhones to the new My TSA mobile app, available for free on both on iTunes and in the USA.gov apps gallery. My TSA mobile gives travelers answers to frequently asked questions about what is permitted and not permitted in carry-on luggage, guidelines on TSA
rules and regulations regarding identification and liquids, and also
allows you to check general delays and conditions at your airport.
9. The Department of Defense has a fantastic blog post outlining some of the ways that government has able to use social media to help with the relief situation in Haiti. For example, the Department
of Defense has been blogging updates about what’s happening on the ground, as well as information about how people can help. They’ve also been developing and releasing shareable video clips,
and have served as the host for several Haiti blogging roundtable
events where they invited members of the blogging community to share
their opinions and concerns with members of the DoD. It’s a great
example of the true power of social media.
8. First, there was Facebook. Then there was Spacebook. And now, there’s Statebook. According to the Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy, Statebook, the agency’s new Facebook/LinkedIn-styled site, will provide a secure
network in which employees and diplomatic officials can communicate and
collaborate, no matter where they are in the world. The department plans
a beta test including 300-400 users, and officials believe it will help
employees more quickly locate credible experts within the system
7. Uncertain if the guy sitting across from you on the Metro is on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list? Now, there’s an app for that. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s iPhone app allows users to immediately access photos of the top 10 fugitives, as well as the ability to instantly e-mail an FBI office closest to their current GPS location. But the app is only one way that the Bureau is using the power of social media to inform and empower citizens—they are also
employing Twitter, Facebook, and a 150,000+ recipient e-mail list to get
the word out.
6. The Centers for Disease Control are using text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and more to get the word out about sexually transmitted diseases. The largest campaign receiving CDC backing, called Get Yourself Tested, targets high school and college students with information intended to “reduce the spread of STDs among young people through information, open communication with partners, health care providers, and parents, and testing and treatment
as needed.” Other awareness efforts include a widget that helps you locate your closest STD testing center and e-cards with STD-focused messages.
5. Ready for some transportation collaboration? Earlier this week, the Transportation Department launched IdeaHub, an online portal designed to give the department’s 55,000 employees a secure place to share ideas, vote on others’ ideas, and give feedback to
department leaders about specific challenges the agency faces.
Department officials believe that the new online community will
encourage greater collaboration and information exchange between
employees who are spread across the nation. “With IdeaHub, a Federal
Aviation Administration employee in Alaska can offer suggestions about
an idea by a Federal Transit Administration worker in Atlanta or vote on
an idea by a Federal Highways Administration employee in Arizona,”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a blog post announcing the launch.
4. Following on the heels of the recent Healthcare.gov website launch, the Department of Health and Human Services this week launched an interactive online widget that will allow people to search for affordable health insurance options. The widget, available for use on the HealthCare.gov homepage, allows users to select their state and provides other answers about their specific situation; then, the widget presents a menu of
health insurance options available. The department is also making the
widget code available for download so that it may be easily embedded on
3. Get this: Every public tweet ever tweeted—from the historic and important through the mundane announcements of what you’re having for dinner—will be archived for all of eternity. Twitter announced on Wednesday that
the Library of Congress will acquire and archive all public tweets. The archive will goes back to Twitter’s inception in 2006, and will contain billions of tweets.
2. What if your city’s government had access to some of the brightest, most innovative developers to help create applications that would make citizens’ lives better, and interaction with city government
easier and more productive? Thanks to Code for America, this dream will be coming true for five lucky cities across the nation. Recruitment begins immediately; Code for America is currently accepting nominations from city governments
through February 1, 2010 and will begin recruiting developers later on
this year, with a plan to have fully functional applications in place by
the end of 2011.
1. If you could reduce your agency’s web-related calls by 70% just by installing one $1,000 device, would you do it? That’s exactly what the Virginia Department of Taxation did. By adding an online chat instant messaging component to their website,
department representatives are now able to handle more customers
simultaneously, increasing employee productivity and customer
satisfaction. The online chat service currently receives 500-600 chat
requests per day even though it’s not advertised anywhere other than the
tax website itself, but department officials expect the number to grow
exponentially once they upgrade their chat software and launch a planned
advertising campaign. I don’t know about you, but I like having an
online chat function instead of being forced to pick up the phone and
wait on hold for a while—I’d like to see other agencies learning from
Virginia’s success and adopting similar technology on their own sites.
NASA is planning to release the source code for Spacebook as opensource some time early next year for those who want to build their own XXX”book”. It was built on Liferay opensource portal software which has a creative commons licensing agreement, so it is all about sharing code across Agency lines.
I (along with three contractors at eTouch Systems) was the designer of the new Spacebook. We are also discussing plans for a public-facing version, as Spacebook and Statebook are both designed for use “behind the firewall”.
Three cheers for open source! Congrats on great work, Megan!
Wow, I had not seen that example from the Virginia Dept. of Taxation. Very cool!
So far HUD, CIA and DoD have expressed interest in a demo of Spacebook at NASA HQ. In addition we plan to demo it to the Federal Intranet Content Managers as a whole (and other interested parties).
FICM is now open for membership to state and local gov’t, just sign up via our listserv on the site.
Thank you for stepping out there and keeping people informed.
I agree – #1 is awesome.
#1 ties in with my mantra for Gov 2.0 in 2011: make your own site more social/interactive! (with live chat being a great way to begin!)
Thanks Meagen, for the mention of the new State internal networking site, which is now called “Corridor” as opposed to “Statebook.” After a lot of moving parts fell into place it is operational, now being tested by eDiplomacy staff in preparation for a wider beta launch. Happy New Year!
Awesome – Robert – do you have any screenshots of Corridor? Would love to see it. What was your experience like building it?
Thanks for the update on Corridor, Robert. Best wishes on your wider beta launch. To echo Steve’s request, it would be great to hear any lessons learned that you have to share.
Steve and Meagen, Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier. It’s Bob, and I am not the lead on the project, but will see if I can get a screen shot cleared to share. It’s a basic (strictly Unclassified) networking platform built on open source, with profiles, status updates, ability to create groups. We passed enough hurdles to be able to run it on the State intranet, but there are still some bugs to work out. I think we will be in a better position to share lessons after the wider launch.