An interesting thing happened over at the DoD's web 2.0 Guidance Forum last week as the "use of web 2.0 by families" topic attracted well over 200 comments from wives, mothers, fathers, active servicemen and women about how critical the new tools are to keep in touch. Craig Newmark blogged about it, including pulling out this comment:
One thing I have learned from Soldiers is that they will find a way to get the tools they need. Making social media tools unavailable to Soldiers while overseas would do two things; 1. Disrupt morale amongst deployed units, especially ones that are currently using these tools and then get cut off. I believe this prohibition would be counter-productive and a foolish move by the military. 2. It would increase the number of Soldiers purchasing their own cell phones with international calling and data plans. This would cause additional financial strain on Soldiers and their families as well as cause phone banks and computer stations to sit unused because Soldiers are on their own personal cell phones updating their facebook status instead of using DOD approved stations.
One thing that came through loud and clear from the comments is that servicemen and women are seeking guidance and more education on how to use these tools going forward. I provided some comments to both WFED and NextGov as they did stories around the forum; WFED interview is here; NextGov article is here.
The U.S. healthcare debate jumped to Twitter last week as Twitter users in the UK drove the #welovetheNHS hashtag to one of the top trending topics for the week. Good write up of the effort here: When US Republicans attacked the NHS this week, its supporters used Twitter to fight back
The CDC relaunched its web-site last week with a new slick design. Alexandra Rampy (@Socialbttrfly) had a nice write up on the new site design. My take was similar, but I think CDC should have their "Connect with CDC" box up on the homepage. Right now it's buried under the Social Media page and I think most vistors to the site simply won't find how they can connect with the CDC on Twitter, FB, Flickr, iTunes and more.
Law.com asked the question last week: "Is It Lawful to Use Twitter for Emergency Messages?" as a small firm, TechRadium, sued Twitter for alleged patent infringement for allowing municipalities, companies and government agencies to use its site as an emergency notification system. No shocker, TechRadium sells emergency alert systems to government, so they see Twitter as a competitive threat.
The Federal Web Managers Social Media Subcouncil is crowdsourcing ideas for what type of handouts should be given to IT execs at the IT Quarterly Forum to help illustrate & explain social media. Comment here.
Interesting Additions to GovTwit Directory Last Week:
- Added @smokey_bear, celebrating 65 years of fighting forest fires; http://bit.ly/177JqA
- Added @TNCourts (HT @lauraclick) - The Tennessee court system; http://govtwit.com/people/tncourts
- The 2nd member of the President's Cabinet to have their own ID, @HildaSolisDOL: http://govtwit.com/people/hildasolisdol
- ATF's new CIO @RickHolgate is on Twitter - http://govtwit.com/people/rickholgate
- Added OPM's http://FedsFeedFamilies.gov, @FedFoodDrive is soliciting stories and photos through August
- Added @S_GWI, the State Department's Office of Global Women's Issues: http://govtwit.com/people/s-gwi
- Added @simsron, 1st HUD ID in directory; Ron Sims is Deputy Secretary - http://govtwit.com/people/simsron
- Added @nhsdirect, one of 6 NHS IDs in Directory - http://bit.ly/xsOqp (expand) (HT @peteboov)