As public affairs officials determine how government agencies should use social networking sites to communicate with the public, the rest of the governments employees are busy communicating on their own site, Govloop.
Govloop was developed by former DHS IT Specialist Steve Ressler and is often described as “The Facebook for Government.” It was designed to give government employees, government contractors, students, and those who are simply interested in the government a forum to share ideas and information.
In logging into Govloop, it does resemble most of the other social networking sites out there. Each member has a profile and can join groups, send messages, update their status, and add friends. Where Govloop differs however, is in the content. The conversation and blogs posted on Govloop truly do stick to current topics and issues within government. Sections dedicated to upcoming events and job openings also provide a forum for members to share valuable information to one another.
One reason the conversation has remained focused on topics such as (links for Govloop members) teleworking , enabling collaboration , and diversity is due to Ressler’s explicit statements on Govloop etiquette. He explains that members shouldn’t overly promote their company, service, or event, and that open debates are encouraged but says not to “excessively criticize any idea or person.”
With around 20,000 members, Govloop has proved to be so successful that NIH is now funding a forum aimed at becoming “The Facebook for scientists.”
By: Jameson Strotman, Allied Media Corp
I recently attended the Adobe Government Assembly at the Ronald Regan Building in Washington, DC. The event was very well done with speakers from organizations such as DHS, DOD, and EPA. Government employees and government contractors gathered to discuss and consider the idea’s of government transparency.
While many topics were debated, one question that emerged was “how does the government share ideas and ask for feedback from the public, without sharing too much, or creating unrealistic expectations?” As Al Kamen’s Washington Post column examines, (washingtonpost.com), even the “super secret” NSA is conversing with the public on Facebook.
An extremely bright panel including Alan Cohn (Strategic Plans-DHS), Price Floyd (Public Affairs-DOD), and Dee Dee Myers (Former White House Press Secretary) debated how to handle public interaction and information sharing, while answering questions from the crowd (answering questions from the public about how to answer questions from the public?!?). Myers pointed to the release of the White House Visitor list (bbc-white house list) as an example of how sharing some information increases the demand for more information. The public responded to the list by saying, “Thanks for telling us who was there, now tell us why they were there and what they were talking about!”
While the panelists agreed that this can become problematic, they also agreed that it isn’t something to be afraid of and that it is the reality of today’s world. The days of government communication to the public being a one way street are over. Today, US Government officials aren’t only deciding what to share with the public, but what to tweet, what to re-tweet, and how to respond to difficult wall posts.