Social Intranet in Government

Whatever happened to Fedspace? It was announced in 2010 as part of the Obama administration’s Government 2.0 initiative, and was supposed to be developed and released by GSA to all federal agencies.

According to an article in FCW, GSA promised that “FedSpace will support information-sharing, communities of interest, and establishing and maintaining professional relationships,” all using social networking technologies familiar to Facebook users.  Readers were told to expect a new era of productivity and collaboration across the federal government.

Five-plus years later FedSpace appears to have disappeared into the ether without a trace.  Likewise, the State Department announced its own “Statebook” social intranet initiative the same year.  It too appears to have disappeared without a trace. The closest thing to a success story I can find is Intellipedia, which is optimized for information sharing within the Intelligence Community (IC).  Most of the other references one finds to social intranet initiatives in government date to the 2009-2010 period.

There are a number of information-sharing initiatives that appear to have enjoyed at least modest success, but nothing that integrates Facebook-like social media functions with corporate productivity and collaboration tasks.

Have I missed something? Social intranet platforms are being widely adopted in Corporate America, but appear to be floundering in the public sector — at least at the federal level.  Is there a government agency that has successfully implemented a social intranet platform?  What explains why the use of social networking and collaboration technologies is not more widespread across government? Are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions possible, or must social intranet  technologies be developed in-house from the ground up when it comes to government agency adoption?

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