August 13, 2009 at 12:46 am #77677
**Update – Contest is over. Shout out to winner Jon Lee from State of Texas e-Gov for his brilliance around Intranet 2.0
Another GovLoop contest..This time the best answer gets a free pass to the ALI Social Media for Government conference in Chicago, September 14-17. Deadline is August 19th.
Submit your best idea of how your organization could use social media to improve government operations. Could be specific or broad themed.
Winner chosen by Kelly of ALI Social Media for Gov’t conference by originality, clarity, and general awesomeness.
August 13, 2009 at 1:45 am #77745
Most Government organizations are understaffed when it comes to their procurement shops. A combination of the following technologies would help them make the procurement process more efficient. I am giving examples of technologies publicly available, when in reality I believe a more secure, government-controlled social network environment would be required to make it all work:
Procurement Blogs (with RSS syndication) to publish RFPs, updates, cancellations, modifications, and awards. Users could then use syndication to get automatic updates on their RSS readers, email, intranets, or Facebook/GovLoop accounts.
Twitter Functionality: Questions and Answers (then permanently posted to the blog), sources sought, updates and alerts on the procurement process, awards, etc.
Wikis: to obtain feedback from contractors and employees for draft RFPs, RFIs, etc.
Social networks (Like GovLoop or Facebook): to showcase teams and make potential “teaming partners” (friends), discussion forums for assorted topics relevant to procurement (and government-moderated), posting white papers by teams, submit polls, etc.
August 13, 2009 at 4:09 am #77743
The best idea for my organization is to only use social media so that Sailors and Marines can stay in touch with friends and family. Security is lousy on those sites and it is not a good idea for all of us to be revealing a lot about our lives. There is a lot of social engineering going on and not all of it is scammers some of it is espionage.
August 13, 2009 at 4:18 am #77741
Govt should use social media to basically QUIT REINVENTING THE WHEEL!
This means: there are pockets of highly experienced people who are good at certain things… instead of having a variety of people in a wide variety of government organizations ALL trying their OWN different things and having hugely varied levels of success or failure…. use social media to totally CONNECT!
(I can’t go if I win, but wanted to vent my small two cents 🙂
August 13, 2009 at 12:59 pm #77739
From my recent White Paper to NOAA Senior Management:
The application of Immersive Internet technology to NOAA’s Workforce Management Office capabilities has the highest potential return on investment for NOAA given its broad applicability to existing employees, new hires, and prospective employees. A robust initial investment in a set of virtual workforce management tools, most notably a virtual NOAA Career Center, would encourage a cultural shift within the agency, and would yield tremendous benefits in the form of a cost effective, easily extensible training platform for years to come. The incorporation of distance learning, distance mentoring, and serious games makes Virtual Worlds technology a natural fit for NOAA’s workforce needs. A Virtual Training Room within the Career Center would allow new employees to visit NOAA Labs, watch virtual poster sessions to learn about the work being done nation-wide by NOAA, and train for complex or dangerous jobs in a safe environment, all at a very low ongoing cost.
August 13, 2009 at 1:38 pm #77737
Government has a hard time dedicating resources to social media tools, however, I think our Parks and Recreation Department would benefit greatly from some easy things such as Twitter. Start small….work up to bigger things! Just think, the waterpark is closed for inclement weather (tweet), X beach is closed due to bacteria, check out beaches A, B, C (tweet), the cross-country ski trails are groomed and ready for good times! (tweet), golf course X is under water today (tweet), and don’t forget to reserve your picnic shelter beginning 8:00 a.m. January 2nd! Once we we get one department to see the ROI of this tool, we’ll be able to sell it to other departments with similar business needs. We need to be more communicative with our customers (citizens). TNX
August 13, 2009 at 2:02 pm #77735
Often, offices are renovated or refurbished and old property is either trashed or sent to a materials reuse type organization to be sold off. It would be wonderful if these materials could be listed on a site that other government organizations could search in the hopes an exchange could be made.
I recommend a “Craigslist for government” site. The idea behind this site would be to allow government agencies to transfer minor property. Make the site only available to .gov / .mil type domains, and allow the person with the merchandise to qualify any restrictions for exchanging the materials. Example: An organization might required that the materials can not leave DoD for some reason, or that the gaining party must arrange transport.
In theory, this would allow the government to maximize the life of its materials and allow “needy” organizations a chance to upgrade without cost.
August 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm #77733
Social media would be a great way to set up neighborhood “hubs” to create a virtual sense of place that could connect citizens to local goverment and their communities/each other in a very personal way. The hubs could provide a way for local governments to communicate a variety of targeted information (deadlines, activities, urgent notices, public hearings/meetings, photos, polls, questionnaires) and give citizens a way to respond, ask questions, weigh in and share information as well. The goal would be for citizens to see themselves an integral part of their local government (not just recipients of services) by reaching out to them as unique citizens instead of as generic residents.
August 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm #77731
Government agencies need to be using social networking sites for recruitment. Companies in the private industy are doing this already to reach out to passive job seekers. We need to be getting rid of the boring job profiles and instead ‘tweeting’ interesting and attention grabbing details about a position. As web 2.0 grows the private industry is capitolizing on the new talent out there by recruiting them on their favorite websites, i.e. social networking sites. The Government will no longer be able to hire the best of the best if we don’t know where to find them.
August 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm #77729
Working for a police department, this would be a great way for citizens to communicate not only among themselves in their neighborhoods (vis a vis Neighborhoods on Watch) to keep everyone up to speed on what’s happening there but also to report suspicious activity, gang activity and grafitti to us. It would also allow us to push out timely information, news alerts and emergency information that’s critical to the well being of the community.
August 13, 2009 at 2:52 pm #77727
August 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm #77725
I think that Wikis could be used within government agencies to create documentation for employes and contractors. Examples:
-the manager’s guide to how to hire a new employee
-orientation for new employees
-how to obtain an HSPD-12 card
-helpful tips for a particular building or location (cafeteria, vending machines, credit union, atm, parking, restaurants, health clinic, gym, commuting )
August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm #77723
Social media reminds us that the best sites deliver information quickly and neatly. To me, the best thing about social media is that it is necessary to be concise. We can’t hide behind a lot of overwriting and bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. That can apply to any government organization! If social media can also force government entities to clean up their web sites with an eye towards functionality and readability for the public, then you can succeed in two different areas at once. Social media can only entice the public to use our services effectively if we gear the actual web sites and social media messages to encourage the public to educate themselves and learn more about what their government can do for them. In any case, it’s a great, affordable opportunity to market the services we are proud to provide to the public and let them know how we can help.
August 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm #77721
My little bit – I wanted to give examples of things that have worked in the past – before the use of blogs, and boards, there was a popular time when people would send out a generic Christmas letter. Oh many people hated these. But, families wanted to stay in touch, and wanted to keep people updated on the rest of the family. Why did I use this example? Well, I do have a history in the office of using long ago or more recent examples to relate them to modern ideas, but I also wanted to point out, many people hated the once a year photo copied letter, yet that is exactly what we do when using facebook, and other social networks. We let everyone know at once exactly the same thing. No one is out of the loop. Another example; how many group e-mails do we get? Bunches! But, when we are out of the office we tend to miss these group e-mails due to many reasons. IF this group information was sent out as an e-mail and also as a “group” note on a private facebook group. We could find out the information right away, no matter where you were. So, the private facebook (or public) group is one way to keep everyone updated at the same time. We need govloop, or facebook to learn from each other. Someone else said it best – let’s stop reinventing the wheel. If I need to know how to write something in my office, that has been written by another state, why should I have to learn all over again how to do it? Wouldn’t it be easier to have a place where we can ask each other questions about certain items and go from there. One more example – I need to call ALASKA USPFO today because we are looking for something we know they have. I bet other states have it, but we have tracked one down to Alaska. I don’t know anyone from ALASKA, so I need to find the numbers (in Global) and make a cold call, then try to find what I am looking for. This may take all day. If I had one website that covered what I am looking for, I would be good to go, and I could go about my day, with more productivity. Because many of us follow the same rules and regulations, our work is in many ways the same. Web tools can make Government work so much better for everyone. Well… it was off track a little, but that is my two cents.
August 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm #77719
Interesting. But, if I tweet that someone is marking up grafitti and/or other misdeeds, do I become a potential target for retribution? I agree with alerts and such, perhaps with some anonymity?
August 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm #77717
Social media should be used to furher the mission of each agency. For example, if it’s public health or safety, social media can be employed to extend “reach” and pull together thoughtful communities to deal with issues like local neighborhood crime. Another example, emergency response…social media could be used to spread the message, alert the public, etc. Many forms of social media could extend systems like Amber Alert sign on freeways to Amber Alert digital messages.
August 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm #77715
We know from experience that as citizens, we often feel powerless when there is a lack of information, but with the amount of content on the web, we don’t necessarily feel more informed. We also know that social media tools have the potential to dramatically change the way people interact and behave, but with the number of these applications available, we don’t necessarily feel more empowered.
For many citizens, this information and technology overload is at best confusing and at worst disempowering. However, tackling these issues addresses deeper challenges on how our citizens feel they can influence their lives
Tools such as mashups make it much easier for people to “pick” a wide range of content and tools and “mix” them together to produce their own solutions. These aren’t only freely and publicly accessible, but connect up citizens in their neighbourhoods or around their interests, such as parenting.
People use these “mashups” depending on what they need at any given time or place. They pick what suits them. They may only want to use a mashup someone else created earlier or they may want to create their own.
What people create for themselves can benefit others, whether it’s to find out about local schools, access to consultations or business rates.
It not only develops more active and informed residents, but also harnesses their creativity and energy in a way which meets their aspirations and recognises the different talents they can bring to the community. It would also show everyone the diversity of Kent and of people’s lives.
Citizen’s needs are paramount. Enabling people to create and share mashups supports the enthusiasm of our residents and local communities. We believe it is the small-scale innovations to daily challenges we all face that make a real difference.
People probably know what they want to do and have some idea about how they can do it. Most of the resources they require we probably already have, we just need to make it easier for them to access and use in an easy and meaningful way.
If we are to develop the general wellbeing of our local communities, we have to find ways that not only meet increasingly complex needs and demands but also support their ability to be the experts of their own lives, whether that’s creating solutions for themselves, joining up with other people or debating issues.
It’s not about the technology, it’s about allowing people to carry out the activities that suit them rather than making assumptions about what people will want to do. In other words, showing what people can do for themselves and each other.
Without the commitment to make information more freely available, our capacity to empower our residents is limited.
Although the focus will be on releasing public information from the Council, we can work with local organisations so they can also take advantage of the platform to allow their information to be “remixed”.
By “mixing” the content provided from public service providers in Kent and nationally, people can choose how the information from these different organisations is put together on a particular issue (i.e. childcare).
For example, if they mixed information about health/childcare services with content from Patient Opinion, they would be able to find out where their nearest hospital was but also feedback their experiences on it.
Naturally, we are aware there is a lack of knowledge about the re-use of public information through new technologies. Very few, if any, local authorities have yet enabled their residents to combine their own information via online tools so they can “mash” it with other content. As such, we want to make sure the pilot benefits those that need it most, the information we provide is mashable and that the technologies work for the people that will use them.
August 14, 2009 at 11:29 am #77713
I think real-time communications should be added to groups. Web conferencing has reached a point of reliability, affordability and ease-of-use.
The Web 2.0 versions plug right into a site so instant conferencing is simple.
Nothing beats real-time voice, video and images for enhancing a discussion.
August 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm #77711
I think one of the simplest and quickest ways to bring social media to a government organization is to roll out a simple microblogging service like Yammer or Present.ly. Start with a small branch or department of 500 or less people, encourage everyone to use that rather than the IM system, and get people used to communicating on a platform, rather than a channel. The issue isn’t getting people to use blogs or wikis or social networks – it’s getting them to see the benefits to communicating on a platform where everyone can see instead of their typical channels that they open up between specific people. Use the microblogging service, get them used to using the platform concept and then slowly they can start rolling out other platforms.
August 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm #77709
National Park Service:
Using Twitter, we could create a site called Sweetgrass or Sourweed. When someone signs up for our tweets, they get to choose an endangered species to put on their own website. We ask them daily yes or no questions about some NPS issue. They vote Sweetgrass or Sourweed by placing their critter to one or the other. (of course we do not have access to twitter so it will never actually happen!)
August 14, 2009 at 9:38 pm #77707
If the aim is to improve operations then we must look at where the most inefficiencies occur. With more and more public servants participating in social networks, the inefficiencies and red tape become more evident and frustrating. As we in the web 2.0 communication field examine how these tools can help with customer/client service, we should be doing the same internally.
I typically send 2-5 emails to get stated on any files. I am quite certain my queries and requests are not unique. An internal social media service audit and strategy are needed to determine where these tools could be best put to use. Community managers are needed for those service areas most used (HR, contracting, procurement etc.) and rather than using a personal email address to provide repetitive responses, create an open ‘workspace’ whereby we can help ourselves and learn from guidance already provided.
This is actually not as difficult to implement/execute in Government as some may think. As usual, it takes a spark and a leader to get things rolling.
August 14, 2009 at 11:26 pm #77705
My best idea for our organization using social media: San Francisco is already the first city to use twitter to enter service requests through the 311 call center, for example potholes and other street defects. I would like to extend this by putting the department of public works into a feedback loop by means of:
1. tracking street defects in bike lanes through a datasf (local equivalent to data.gov) data extract of service requests specific to street defects in bike lanes.
2. creating a facebook page for the existing lane steward volunteers who follow up, photograph and geotag potholes, together with RSS feed of the datasf extract with value added information from the lane steward inspection rides
3. analytics (80-20 time to fix by district, etc.), discussion on facebook and volunteer action such as ‘crater invaders’ and
4. time-to-fix sla exception reporting through the days-of-inaction-counting public-facing widgets like the facebook Bike Coalition Widget
August 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm #77703
Alice M. FisherParticipant
Integrate all agencies news webpages with a more standardized Web 2.0 model/format and then build an agregated federal agency news hub like Topix.com. Standard press is dieing and lines and lines of URL links to a single press release is so early 1900 ( when press releases were developed for the telegraph wire for news transmission)
August 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm #77701
Government entities can benefit from social media with an inside-out approach. Why do organizations continue talking about how great Facebook, Twitter, forums, blogs, and wikis are, but they don’t take advantage of these applications within their own networks? The intranet is a powerful resource that is greatly underutilized in organizations. Most government entities use the intranet for posting static HR news and org charts, but very few are leveraging the dynamic social media tools that are available today. Deploying such applications on an enterprise level can greatly improve business processes, encourage collaboration and communication, and build organizational culture. Since these tools are only utilized by employees, counter-productive abuses of social media by anonymous users are not areas of concern.
Applications like instant messaging, document sharing, web conferencing, issue tracking, project management tools, knowledge management, brainstorm sessions and enterprise microblogging are just a few examples of social media tools that can all enhance the way government does business.
August 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm #77699
Sorry to be verbose, Kelly. In case my point came out jumbled, here it is in less than 140 characters:
Upgrade the INTRANET by replacing a static, web 1.0 arena with dynamic and powerful applications
August 18, 2009 at 12:39 am #77697
Very cool. What do you think of Govfresh which does some of Topix agregated federal news hub.
August 18, 2009 at 12:40 am #77695
August 18, 2009 at 4:12 am #77693
Alice M. FisherParticipant
It’s a start. But take a look at some of these from this one link
What are your favorites and why. One of the sites has a particularly good acessability page too
August 18, 2009 at 8:06 pm #77691
I agree. Having worked at several large organizations, it seems that you have to work there a couple years before you really get to know what’s going on. So much knowledge about procedures is trapped inside people’s brains. When you’re starting out in an organization, you don’t even know what services are available, who to call or how things get done. It would be great if there was an intranet (or a wiki) where new employees could find out all these things.
The challenge is to get people to take the time to share their knowledge. To do so, it has to be easy, fun and worthwhile. An intranet with friendly Facebook-like features would be ideal. It also has to be worthwhile. While being recognized by your peers may be enough for some, I’d argue that cash bonuses or other incentives would need to be provided for people who contribute the most knowledge to the intranet.
August 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm #77689
Data has become social. You can receive news updated in real time on Twitter, see what you friends are doing at any give time by checking their Facebook page Data and technology have partnered to take us leaps and bounds into a new social world.
The Government is following suit and socializing themselves. Meeting the public where they virtually communicate and responding to their request for data transparency. With the launch of sites like Data.gov and usaspending.com, a new level of data presence has emerged a new era of social data networking. The government has revealed itself and its data to the public. This also reveals the need for a condition where a non-technical audience can understand and utilize this new data.
This is where social media can rush to the aid of Government operation and amplify their impact. Social media and interactive presentation around government data is an imperative next step for improving government operations.
The government and car companies are spending a considerable amount of money for Cash for Clunkers; a really simple way the government can use social media, is by tying data to their public awareness campaigns, and using social media to help spread the message with data. For example, it’s great to know that there is cash for clunkers going on by reading an article, but why can’t I simply find a list of all of the cars that are accepted by the program in that same article? Rather than requiring citizens to find yet another government website (hard to remember, hard to fine), the government can use social media to communicate their programs and include relevant data to support the program
August 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm #77687
Cristiano Ferri Soares de FariaParticipant
e-Democracy Program in the Brazilian Parliament
The way we are using social media to improve Brazilian Parliament operations seems very interesting and innovative.
This is the E-democracy Program of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies (similar to US House of Representatives).
Popular participation promotes the strengthening of representative democracy since it enhances the link between society and the parliament. For this reason, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has been working for a few years to broaden its channels of interaction with society, especially those that make use of digital media.
The use of the Internet by Brazilian society has been increasing each day, and virtual social networks have contributed significantly to this growth.
Similarly, nowadays, digital interaction and knowledge-sharing tools provide extremely useful support for policymaking processes in modern democracies.
What is the e-democracy Program?
It is a set of strategic projects aimed at encouraging the broad participation of society in the legislative process, through the use of information and communication technologies.
Objectives of the e-democracy Program:
• Improving interaction between society and the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies;
• Strengthening the role of society in the formulation of public policies;
• Enhancing the value and recognition of legislative work.
What is the e-democracy portal?
It is a virtual, interactive, dynamic space, with a user-friendly interface, created to encourage citizens and civil society to share ideas and experiences that contribute to the legislative process.
The e-democracy website allows Brazilian society to participate in the legislative process through the Internet, by means of:
• Sharing useful information, experiences and documents, for the discussion of bills;
• Taking part in official forums;
• Participating in social and thematic networks;
• Presenting drafts of legislative proposals, composed in a collaborative way, to subsidize the work of deputies in the decision-making process.
How to participate?
Any citizen can register on the webpage http://www.edemocracia.camara.gov.br and access the virtual legislative communities.
What is a virtual legislative community?
It is a set of digital tools that encourages the exchange of knowledge, such as: dynamic forums, video-chats, a digital library containing studies and information, full texts of bills, news, audio and video contents, polls, and events calendars.
What is Wikilegis?
It is a virtual collaborative environment, in which citizens can contribute directly to the discussion and writing of bills of national interest. Wikilegis enables citizens to elaborate their own versions of the legislative text, or to present suggestions for, or amendments to, proposed bills.
What is the target audience?
• Congressional Representatives;
• Civil servants of the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislative Powers from all levels of government;
• Academic researchers and experts;
• Representatives of NGOs and professional associations;
• Leaders and members of international organizations;
• Citizens in general.
There three levels of access. The first is the information level: citizens just follow the discussion. The second is the Citizen Room, where anyone may participate, presenting ideas and discussing about the policy after a brief register. The third level is for specialists and groups of interest related to the subject, where there is the Wikilegis, an innovative digital tool developed to let people build the proposals in a collaborative way.
The two first pilot discussions are the climate changing policy and the youth policy that are happening in the present moment. More details about the e-democracy program may be accessed in the http://www.edemocracia.gov.br (in Portuguese).
August 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm #77685
I would like to bring to your attention our experiment with social media in the recruitment process of the candidates to the diplomatic cadet course of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The recruitment process started about 4 moths ago. At the same time we discovered forum in one of the most popular Israel’s websites TAPUZ (“orange”), that was dealing with the information and Q/A about the cadet course in particular and diplomatic career in general.
The forum started without our previous knowledge or involvement. We found it accidentally, but immediately started to engage with the candidates sharing the information with the members of the forum. We also encouraged them to contact us directly when the questions were too specific or private. In addition, we published links to the forum in the Twitter and Facebook of the Training Department representative.
I should mention that most of the information we provided on the forum existed on the ministry’s website. However, the forum allowed us to deliver the information in a personal way that made the whole difference.
Those of you who read hebrew can visit the forum:
So, what’s the next stage? We are planning to open the blog of the Training Department, where we will conduct an ongoing conversation with the potential candidates. This also will allow us to accumulate knowledge and share it in a systematic way.
August 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm #77683
Jon, et al, I think you’re spot on! This is exactly what my firm has done by creating an innovative social media environment called “Hello” that incorporates functionality of the tools you noted. The key benefits of this Web 2.0 intranet are capturing intellectual capital in a much more timely and efficient manner, fundamentally improving business processes, and promoting a culture of openness and trust through personal interaction and real-time information-sharing. A very cool and smart investment indeed. Who knows, some day we may even get by without email!
August 20, 2009 at 6:51 pm #77681
Thanks Becky! Somehow, I suspected the idea was too obvious to not already live somewhere. Cheers!
August 20, 2009 at 11:44 pm #77679
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