Will the next Administration join the Blogging Revolution? A couple weeks ago the IBM Center released a report on blogging in government, and sponsored an event where we invited both corporate and government bloggers to share their experiences. The audience – largely government communication experts – was wowed by the possibilities. The event was recorded, so you can watch it on our website.
The report, by Dr. David Wyld of Southeastern Louisiana University, seems to be the first compilation of the state of the art. It has over 400 links to government blogs. He purposely left out political campaign blogs; he wanted to showcase those being used in the administration of government. Most were posted by elected officials – governors, mayors, legislators. But he also found blogs by appointed officials – police chiefs, fire chiefs, etc. More infrequent were blogs by federal agencies. In fact, www.USA.gov – the governmentwide web portal – lists less than a dozen active federal blogs that reach out to the public.
One federal blog that Dr. Wyld showcased in his report (and who was a speaker at our event) was by the commanding general of the U.S. Strategic Command. General James Cartwright uses an internal, classified blog, and other on-line social networking tools, to move information and ideas more quickly across his command. He says the traditional hierarchy doesn’t work well when decisions need to be made more rapidly than in the past.
The corporate bloggers at the event – John Wolf from Marriott Corporation and David Berger from IBM – described how their companies went about creating their blogs, and how they are used for either internal or external audiences. While there are few external federal agency blogs, there maybe more internal blogs – but no one seems to know. The speakers talked not only about why they blog and the value, but also about how to do it. There are different styles, but the most compelling is a first-person narrative. An example is one on government reform by Steve Kelman, who is one of the authors of the Center’s initial Presidential Transition reports.
While the Blog event was a success, and people seem to be downloading copies of the report like crazy, I never really understood the power of blogging as a way of getting the word out until I started looking at how the word was getting out about the Blog report. We only saw a couple press articles about the report. However, I didn’t understand the extent to which it would be picked up by the blogosphere and passed along virally. A week after the event, I went onto the Google Blog search engine and found more than a dozen links to the report by different bloggers, all encouraging their readers to read it. We’re now curious – will this become our most downloaded report because of a viral campaign?
While the federal government seems to be a slow adopter of blogging, that doesn’t seem to be the case in states and localities. In fact, a symposium is being held toward the end of July on how states and localities can leverage blogging and other Web 2.0 technologies. Maybe they will be the ones to create a roadmap for the federal government. I’ll let you know what I learn.
In the meanwhile – do you know of any federal agency-run blogs – internal or external?