How should we collaborate?

As the Social Media Subcouncil continues working to develop strategic social media recommendations and guidelines, questions regarding practical social collaborative models have emerged.

After considering several options, the Social Media Subcouncil has arrived at four possible collaborative models we can use to deliver recommendations and guidelines to the Federal Web Managers Council:

• Social Media Subcouncil writes recommendations, and then requests collaborative comments from the online community. An example of this model could include Naming Conventions recommendations.

• Social Media Subcouncil offers our initial thinking without writing a final draft, and then edits with the community to shape the document. An example of this model is draft guidelines on editing Wikipedia.

• Social Media Subcouncil solicits feedback on specific, more structured items and the online community “fills in the boxes.” An example of this is our requests a list of web 2.0 governance policies, where you provide the documents via the wiki, online form or survey method.

• Social Media Subcouncil from the beginning works in conjunction with the online community to form a final document.

These are a few options that may work better for some issues or situations than others. What do you think would work best and when?

Do you have any other models to propose?

Let us know and let’s get going!

Dan Hernandez is an IT Specialist for the Bureau of Land Management and member of the Social Media Subcouncil.

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Devin B. Hedge

Well there has to be guidelines for partitioning of data: UNCLAS, SBU, etc., how Social Media messaging should be logged, how Social Media traffic should traverse Federal networks (if at all). I’ve found that most ISSO’s (information security officers) won’t even allow Web 2.0 technologies on their networks so something has to be done about getting them to put together guidelines about use of Web 2.0 technologies. I do know that there are some Web 2.0 technologies in use in a couple secure enclaves, so… it’s not like it doesn’t work.

Kelly O'Brien

As much as I’m a true believer in the power of social media to transform I’m finding that a blended model works: a combination of online (e.g., wiki, forums) and “offline” (e.g., in person face time or video conference) tactics work to encourage collaboration that gleans the most meaningful ideas that only reveal themselves with some digging and over time. Regular face/chat time is key for a) sustaining momentum and b) building relationships. Weekly is optimal, biweekly works too – anything longer doesn’t.

Jeffrey Levy

@Kelly: Hmm. Maybe we weren’t clear enough in our post – we’re trying to understand the models of us (the Subcouncil) working with all of you, the rest of the community. Not really addressing who we work within the Subcouncil.


I see value in all the models and can see the approach changing depending on what the topic du jour is. If it’s a topic that we have considerable knowledge on within the group, then we can come up w/ a document to be shared w/ the on-line community for comments and input to ensure that we have covered all relevant grounds. However, when it’s something we are “toying” w/ or not too sure about, that would be a great instance to provide a framework for folks to “fill in.’
-Just a few thoughts- nothing spiffy :)!

alex stobart

First of all I think what you are doing here is absolutely fantastic. As a cousin across the Atlantic in Scotland, we are probably two years behind you.

In your shoes, I would agree with the blended approach and the value of open source is its flexibility. Horses for courses as they say over here.

Can I throw in another suggestion as well – you may wish to establish a small group of other nations that are doing similar things to you. Here in the UK and in the Netherlands there is activity. Collaboration and sharing of ideas / what works / what does not work may well help us all

Thanks for allowing others in

Scotland, UK

Lucas Cioffi

Sounds great. It is also helpful to think about collecting feedback in stages. Several of the methods mentioned can be employed in series:
1. before the recommendations are written, ask general and specific questions and allow participants to comment on each other’s answers
2. while the recommendations are being written, publish a draft for public feedback
3. after the recommendations are written, the conversation does not have to stop; continue to collect feedback at a permanent URL so that the next time the policy is reexamined, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Elizabeth Rosas

@alex, i try to follow the epractice.eu site somewhat… are there others you recommend? i know new zealand is very active in this area as well.

@Lucas, great point on the model differing depending on where we are in the process & idea for continuing the conversation once our recommendations are formalized – thanks!