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Some Things I’m Learning

I spent some time this morning getting more familiar with GovLoop and its many features. I clicked on the Applications link and was amazed at the long list of options available. Having recently joined FaceBook because we are looking at providing some FaceBook-like features on our city’s intranet, I selected the Status application and saw that I could capture my FaceBook status here by entering the rss link.

However, finding the rss link on FaceBook was problematic. I could not find anything by scanning my FaceBook pages, so I googled ‘facebook status rss feed’ and found http://digg.com/programming/How_to_Find_Facebook_s_Status_RSS_Feed which had a reply that provided a link (http://www.new.facebook.com/minifeed.php?filter=11) to get the rss feed.

One thing I thought strange was that the link began http://www.new.facebook.com, so I took out the ‘new’ and it still worked. I posted the rss feed link provided and it worked like a charm 🙂

Having it now working on GovLoop, I updated my status on FaceBook and refreshed my GovLoop page and … no change! I kept refreshing with no change for half an hour or so. So I updated the link and added ‘new’ back in. Voila, the status on GovLoop finally changed. So it needed the ‘new’ for some reason?

No, not that easy. Continued testing while writing this blog show that this is not the case. The only way I have found so far to actually update the status is to change back and forth to using ‘new’ and not using it.

What am I missing?

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Lisa Jahn

I’m interested in hearing how you’ll be adding Facebook-like features on your intranet. It’s an idea a colleague and I were tossing around just yesterday. Can you share details?

Sam Allgood

Our intranet (and internet) is Zope/Plone based, so that was our starting point for options. Several of our departments are using SharePoint and we now have it available for the whole city, so we have looked at that. Neither of these presented out-of-the-box options that we liked and our IT director wants to avoid customization as much as possible, so we have been looking elsewhere.

Primarily, the functionality we are interested in is discussion boards and blogging and we want something that we can install locally and keep behind our firewall so that we are not conducting city business ‘in the cloud’. Therefore, we are currently looking at phpBB (forum/discussion board platform) and WordPress (blogging platform). phpBB offers a number of nice networking features in addition to the forums, to include seeing who is online and being able to send private messages.

Finding/deciding on a functional option is the easy part. We expect it to be more of a challenge to get people engaged in using it to collaborate across departments on areas of common interest (a key purpose), though that will become easier as more people retire and more people with a web 2.0 background are hired. Hopefully as people hear of success stories and recognize it as a viable/easy way of collaborating it will take off.

Lisa Jahn

Excellent info – thanks! Our first steps will probably be a message board and blog too, but I’d like to host a kind of “Facebook-type application on our intranet some day.