Just spent a couple days in conf. sessions learning how a few gov entities are using social media to communicate with public, press and intra/inter-agency. I was surprised that so few in the audience were aware of the collaboration tools, let alone using them to carry out mission communications. A hopeful note: transparancy and information sharing are replacing the old formula of stove-piping and hoarding information. Presenters from City of Chesapeake, Virginia; Water Words That Work; and American Cancer Society were the standouts who are using social media effectively. Of course, eDiplomacy at Dept. of State is a leader in knowledge management, a beacon in the government social media community.
Social Media for Government
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I think we are still in the early stages of the government learning how to use social media. There are a few powerful examples (such as eDiplomacy) but it is not very common in most agencies.
It also doesn’t help that many of us can’t get to social media sites becuase of our agency firewalls. The DoD policy (see article at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,272014,00.html) to block MySpace, YouTube, and the like drives me batty sometimes.
It may be that GovLoop will be denied any day now…
I would love to hear more about what agencies are doing. We just launched a YouTube contest, http://www.radonvideocontest.com, after over a year of work and negotiation. What other tools have agencies tried? Right now marrying the “top down” oversight processes of government with the “bottom up” content generation of these new web 2.0 tools is a challenge. But it seems there’s hope on the horizon.
I just got back from the Social Media in Government conference. While there are numerous challenges to implementing these tools in our agencies, there are also numerous examples where it has been done with great success. I am looking forward to the challenge
Most of the social media action in eDiplomacy is on the Department’s intranet. Sign up for Intelink and see Communities @ State http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has fielded an entire Web 2.0 Suite on Intelink. It includes Intellipedia, iVideo (YouTube like service), Gallery (Flickr like service), tag|Connect (del.ico.us like service), Search Tools, a mashup framework, and more. I hate to tell ya, the Web 2.0 in the government train left 2 years ago.
Off the record for now, I will be writing 1-2 guest posts about “government 2.0” for the very popular blog about social networking tech, Mashable.com – I’d appreciate any input, references, or quotations. I’m especially interested in what is happening outside the DoD/IC. (Can someone tell me more about, and can I mention, “virtual embassies”?) You can get me here or at [email protected], thanks.
This will lead to a longer piece from the National Defense University, which I will probably write with former DoD CIO, Dr. Linton Wells.
The NDU piece with Wells will concentrate on more of an in-depth analysis of what the government is doing with web 2.0, what it could do, what the limits are, and some recommendations for the SecDef / Joint Chiefs / COCOMS, and other relevant entities. Emphasis will be on DoD.
@Jason Martin: I agree that there are numerous challenges and it doesn’t help that many agencies block social media/networking websites—either because they’re too worried about security issues, or they just simply don’t understand the communications benefit from a Government to Citizen (G2C) relationship or Leadership to Employee (L2E).
Now, I do know that there are agencies making inroads everyday with regards to showing the benefit of various social media/networking tools. It’s a slow process…it’s not necessarily the people but the existing policies and procedures…but it’s getting there. The thing that will help out the most is showing how other agencies have benefited from these various tools, show the value in communicating directly with the public, and even how the “brand” of the agency has increased positively in light of a bad situation. Show examples of how an agency worked it’s way out of a bad situation by embracing social media and they’ll listen. Show them how using social media increased an understanding of organization and what it does and they’ll listen. Tell them that they need to do it because it’s the cool thing to do…mmmm, I don’t think they’ll listen.
Sure some of that sounds as if it’s the old saying of, “Jimmy did it, so can we” and it’s a little bit of that…but it’s more about showing that it worked for that organization…now how can we make it work for our organization? If it doesn’t seem to have a benefit, or isn’t appropriate for the given situation, then table the idea and move onto something else.
Late to the train station [cf. John Hale] doesn’t mean the journey failed. Government as a concept is recent in human evolution. And it is by no means the best form, but homo sap has some consciousness building to do before we can move beyond government, 2.0 or whatever.
The journey indeed has not failed. Everyday I see the light bulb go on about how these tools can be used to do their jobs better and faster and more efficient. However, since the Government community is so vast, it is an impossible task that is never ending to educate that these tools even exist within the firewall. Which is why we do continue to work on marketing them and finding evangelists in all parts of government.
Recently having retired from FDA, a regulatory agency, I believe the use of Social Media tools for regulatory agencies will be a slow process. There are so many challenges including legal implications and they’re chained by so many laws, regs, privacy concerns & policies, I imagine it would work best if certain critical issues would be targeted so they could build on those succeesses. Plus there are many Govt leaders that still ‘just don’t get it’. For those that are thought leaders & innovators, willing to take risks, I believe they will reap the most – for their agencies mission, public trust & our citizens.