Connecting people whose main work is to communicate with employees and facilitate communication between employees and management
Would greatly appreciate examples of government internal blogs
November 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm #84773
All - our communications team is trying to sell the idea of creating an internal blog for our government agency, but concerns about legal issues (negative employee comments), open record issues and records retention will be our roadblocks. I'm also having a hard time providing examples of *internal* government blogs, although I can find many examples of external government blogs. I'd greatly appreciate any insight/contact with others, especially proposals/plans shared with leadership on launching an internal blog. I've managed several internal blogs for the private sector, but am stumbling from these new government-related roadblocks. Any examples of successful internal blogs and how they addressed these concerns would be wonderful. Thanks much!
November 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm #84789
I second these questions! We are trying to focus more on internal social networking (including blogs) and I'm having a very difficult time finding government examples that don't cost a fortune!
November 4, 2009 at 7:24 pm #84787
Agree Meagan - hopefully we get some good replies. We're currently looking at WordPress, but haven't landed on that technology yet. You can either set it up as a private blog externally that employees log into (not ideal) or host the software inside (think it's just a matter of some server space, but we're checking on that also).
November 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm #84785
Julie, here in Newport News, VA our acting city manager began a blog on our intranet shortly after assuming the position several months ago. Currently our intranet is only accessible from work or through our VPN. We are using an internally-hosted installation of WordPress. He shared the concern about negative comments and how to handle those, so we are going with a no-comment blog for now.
November 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm #84783
Yep, we're looking at WordPress as well... it's been disappointing to see a slower acceptance of the blog forum on the government side but I know there are other unique complexities at play. At my past positions, we really relied on the standard HR policies to police the blog. If you made a negative comment at work that was inflammatory, it would be handled the same way as if you said that on a blog, etc. (and we really spelled out expectations in our social media policy) If it's moderated (I approve the comments before it goes live), I'm still trying to understand the resistance, etc. Thanks for sharing, Sam!
November 6, 2009 at 9:47 pm #84781
I've seen this work well in many organizations. The World Bank is a good example. A few features that made it work:
- Time and topic bound. It's not just open-ended--there's a specific issue for a limited time.
- By attribution
- Submitters check a box agreeing to the "rules of the road."
- They are reviewed--some do this prior to posting, others to do after--I'm a fan of after. The WB found in thousands of posts, they only had to kill one or two. And this was in the midst of the Wolfowitz mess.
November 6, 2009 at 10:42 pm #84779
Thanks Jeff - this is great. I've been trying to find govn't agencies/orgs that use internal blogs, and have only been able to find private co's. This provides some great data. Like the checkbox idea a lot, as that may help our approach with legal and HR. Thanks so much and if you hear of other govn't orgs that use internal blogs, let me know.
November 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm #84777
We recently launched an internal blog at the U.S. Census Bureau's National Processing Center. Fortunately, I did not have a hard time convincing leadership to do this, so I don't have a document I can share with you to convince your leadership, but feel free to e-mail or call me (812-218-3622) with any questions or to exchange ideas.
One of the biggest concerns going into the project was how inappropriate comments submitted to the blog would be handled. We addresssed this in two ways: 1) by not allowing anonymous comments (all users are authenticated and must log in) and 2) by setting policies that will prevent inappropriate comments (the policies clearly state that submissions not corresponding to the blog rules will not be posted). All comments are reviewed before they are posted.
Now that we have a few postings under our belt, another concern we have had to deal with is coming up with content for the blog. Blogging is new to all of the leadership, so a lot of coaching and suggestions for possible topics is required. The format that has worked best for us is for me to interview the blogger (with a voice recorder), then transcribe their comments into a draft post that they can edit and finalize. This is much less intimidating than asking someone to sit in front of a blank computer screen and write a post when they don't have past blogging experience. Instead, we just sit down and talk and the blog writes itself (for the most part). This format also gives me the opportunity to ask questions to draw out key points for the blog.
We recently established a blog schedule with proposed topics so each leader can see when their next post is scheduled. The schedule is flexible, so if a great topic arises unexpectedly, we can adapt accordingly.
We ask supervisors to post printed copies of the blog in work areas where employees don't have desktop access to the Intranet (although they can access it at our "self-service centers" if they choose).
We used internally hosted WordPress for our blog, so there was no cost involved.
I'd be happy to share a copy of our blog rules with anyone who would like one; I adapted them from some rules shared with me by someone else.
November 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm #84775
Heather - really appreciate you taking the time and congratulations on what sounds like a very successful internal blog! I'd love to see your blog rules if you have a chance. I've seen other social media policy documents but I always find new ideas with others.
May I ask how you approached the blog in regards to the government record retention rules and open records issue?
Many thanks for all your insight! I've developed blog editorial calendars in the past and as I develop ours - I'm happy to share any templates also. Thanks again.
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