Posts Tagged 'blog'

Feds Launch Social Media Group

In December 2008, the members of the Federal Web Managers Council presented a white paper to the Obama transition team addressing perceived and real barriers as well as opportunities for government entities to engage in a social media environment.

Recognizing the challenges many government agencies face in moving towards implementing a social media strategy, the Federal Web Managers Council formed a Social Media Subcouncil to grapple with these issues. Later that month, the Subcouncil was formed out of a diverse and highly charged group of Web managers and public affairs social media practitioners from all levels of government, led by Jeffrey Levy and Joyce Bounds.

Our charge is to pull together best practices and other resources for the benefit of government agencies. Our members are working hard to develop formal recommendations and guidelines for using these technologies to the Federal Web Managers Council.

The quality of content and collaboration that has occurred in a virtual space is impressive, especially given that many of us have never met in person. We want to provide research and engage in discussion at familiar and trusted locations. The Subcommittee will share information and provide updates through the portal as we work through various issues of social media engagement. You can find us on GovLoop, Twitter and the government-only Web Manager’s Forum’s social media community blog – please drop us a line and introduce yourself!

The Subcouncil wiki will enable us to engage and work with the community at large – whether you are a civil servant or outside of government and interested in social media use. Your participation throughout the process is vital to help us learn and succeed. We’re just getting off the ground, but do have some information already posted to the wiki.

This is your government, our government, and we want to hear from you. If you have a network that we’re not reaching directly, please share it and let us know what conversations we might be missing. If you have a great story to tell in how your agency has made it happen, we want to know. If we’re not doing something that you think we should, let us know!

Whether you are in government or simply interested in social media use in government we welcome your input.

We will be posting regularly to the Wiki and through blog posts to share information and announce research projects and results. To see what we’re reading or find interesting, check out our Delicious account as well. Invite us as a friend, follow our Tweets or subscribe to the wiki feed – we’re excited to work with you!

Amanda Eamich is Director of Strategic Communications and New Media at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and member of the Social Media Subcouncil. You can connect with her on Twitter or GovLoop

This blog was first posted at Govloop by the Social Media Subcouncil  on 3/16/2009.  Importing here with the hope to reach a broader audience.

Veterans Affairs Launches Blog, Mobile and More

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently relaunched their site  Returning Servicemembers for OEF/OIF veterans.  The new update is aimed at better connecting  with the younger demographic of returning soldiers.  The site features the VA’s first public-facing blog, a tag cloud of popular terms, and social networking links to the VA on Youtube, Facebook, and Secondlife.  The VA also now has a mobile site at with news, videos, facilty locations, contact info and more. 

Check out the new updates!

What Makes Government 2.0 Different from Enterprise 2.0?

What makes implementing social media on the intranet of a government agency like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) different than say, General Motors (GM)?  There are several fundamental differences between implementing social media behind the firewall in the government as opposed to a Fortune 500 company.  Read the top six reasons listed by Steve Radick at Social Media Strategery.

40+ U.S. Government Blogs

  • Blog – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides this blog as a part of the website to provide information on the uses of new media for the HIV/AIDS community.
  • Airforce Live – Official U.S. Airforce blog from the Air Force Public Affairs Agency.
  • Arctic Chronicles – This journal will document my journey to one of the most unexplored areas in the world, the Arctic, as I accompany scientists on an expedition to map the seafloor. This will be a collaborative effort between the U.S. and Canada.
  • ASY Live Blog – The “ASY Live Blog,” an extension of the Department of Defense America Supports You program, highlights the support supplied by citizens and corporations nationwide to our men and women in uniform and communicates that support to our troops.
  • Big Read Blog – National Endowment for the Arts literature director David Kipen blogs regularly about his experiences promoting the 2007 Big Read initiative.
  • CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Injury Center Director’s View – The Director of the CDC Injury Center, Ileana Arias, blogs to foster public discussion about injury and violence prevention.
  • Congressional Budget Office Director’s Blog – Peter R. Orszag, Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) blogs as an additional way to communicate with Congress and the public. Learn about the type of work done by the CBO including how they do it and what types of analysts they have. Dr. Orszag will also use the blog to clarify potential misinterpretations of CBO data. This blog does not accept comments.
  • Corps e-spondence – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chief of Engineers and Commanding General Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp blogs about all things relevant to the Corps, including their many missions in service to the Nation, leadership, selfless service and people.
  • Dipnote – This blog offers the public an alternative source to mainstream media for U.S. foreign policy information and the opportunity to discuss important foreign policy ssues with senior State Department officials.
  • Energy Savers – The Energy Savers Blog provides a place for consumers to learn about and discuss energy efficiency and renewable technologies at home, on the road, and in the workplace.
  • Evolution of Security – Five employees of the Transportation Security Administration blog to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process.
  • Eye Level – This Smithsonian American Art Museum blog covers American art and the ways it reflects American history and culture.
  • Fast Lane – This blog from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provides a forum for discussing the nation’s transportation system and making announcements about future projects. Contributors will include Secretary Peters, other senior officials from DOT, and guest bloggers.
  • Future Digital System – U.S. Government Printing Office blog about the Future Digital System program that will be a world-class information life-cycle management system.
  • GLOBE Program – Dr. Peggy LeMone, chief scientist of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE), shares her comments and thoughts on science topics through this blog.
  • Gov Gab – Gov Gab’s seven bloggers share practical, useful tips and information from the federal government to help you make life a little simpler. Sample posts cover saving gas, smart shopping, weeding out poison ivy, checking your credit report and helping your pre-teen build self-esteem. Read along each weekday and comment and share your own experiences.
  • Great Lakes Earth Day Challenge Blog – Employees from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 office in Chicago blog from April 1 to May 9, 2008 to share personal insights into how they approach Earth Day, and how Great Lakes communities are participating in the Earth Day Challenge. The “Challenge” to communities around the Great Lakes is to collect 1 million pounds of electronics (e-waste) and (the equivalent of) 1 million pills of unwanted or unused medications.
  • Greenversations – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog is authored by EPA employees who share their unique perspective on environmentalism and personal experiences in protecting and improving our nation’s water, land, and air.
  • Health and Human Services Department Blog – Secretary Mike Leavitt blogs about health and the related challenges that face United States.
  • HHS Peanut Recall Blog – This new blog will include posts from CDC, FDA and HHS
    representative on the current Salmonella outbreak.
  • Health Marketing Musings – A blog about research, science, and practice in health marketing and communication, social marketing, information technology, public health partnerships, and more with Jay Bernhardt, Director of CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing.
  • Homeland Security Leadership Journal – Secretary Michael Chertoff blogs about working to protect the American people, building an effective emergency preparedness and response capability, enforcing immigration laws, and promoting economic prosperity.
  • InfoFarm – The National Agricultural Library blogs about what they do and your world of agriculture, food, nutrition, animal care, and the environment.
  • Library of Congress Blog – Highlights news and collections for the Library of Congress. Written by the Library’s Director of Communications.
  • Military Health System Blog – Department of Defense leadership discusses the future of the U.S. Military Health System.
  • Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO’s Blog – Through this blog, Ambassador John J. Danilovich, the MCC CEO, directlycommunicates with the public to offer his first-hand perspective of MCC programs and the results that assistance to partner countries is producing on the ground for the benefit of the world’s poor.
  • Mount Rainier National Park Volunteers Blog – Get the latest news about the volunteer program at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.
  • NASA Goddard CIO Blog – NASA Goddard CIO, Linda Y. Cureton, blogs about technology, leadership, and being a Chief Information Officer.
  • National African HIV AIDS Initiative (NAHI) Blog – Margaret Korto, a member of the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health Resource Center’s HIV Capacity Building Team, hosts this blog as a way for communities in Seattle, New York, Massachusetts, Atlanta and Washington, DC to communicate and gather ideas about upcoming health summits.
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Science Blog – This blog helps NIOSH to fulfill it’s mission of translating scientific research into practice. It also provides a forum for NIOSH partners and the public to present ideas to NIOSH scientists and each other while engaging in scientific discussion.
  • National Museum of the Air Force – Blog posts from the public about their experiences at the National Museum of the Air Force.
  • National Parks – The National Park Foundation enriches the connection Americans have with our National Parks.
  • Navy Department Chief Information Officer Blog – Robert Carey, CIO for the Department of the Navy, blogs about matters related to information management and information technology and how they impact the Navy Department.
  • Peace Corps Volunteer Journals – Blogs about experiences of Peace Corps volunteers from around the globe.
  • Public Health Matters (CDC) – Bloggers here have a passion for public health.
  • Pushing Back – Office of National Drug Control Policy blog to educate Americans about illegal drugs and the latest international, federal, state, and local efforts to reduce drug use.
  • Pushing the Envelope – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Service blog to inform the public of little known services, tips, and other related information.
  • Returning Service Members – Blog by the Department of Veterans Affairs to help you keep up with VA’s outreach efforts to our returning service members.
  • Smithsonian Institution – Bloggers offer insights and information about Smithsonian Institution exhibitions, events, collections, research projects, and more.
  • Take Pride in America: The Blog – Take Pride in America, a national partnership program aimed at increasing volunteer service on America’s public lands, hosts this blog to empower volunteers from every corner of America to maintain and enhance our natural, cultural, and historical sites.
  • U.S. European Command A clearinghouse of the U.S. European’s Command’s senior leader’s updates on issues important at EUCOM.
  • Whitehouse Blog – Keep up with the latest from the Oval Office.

Evolution of Security – The TSA Blog

TSA has had a big philosophical shift in their agency since 2001. Directly after 9/11, passengers understood the need for extra airport security, and put up with the additional hassles, but as the years have passed, people are less patient. TSA has shifted their focus from “things” (scissors, etc.) to “people.” focusing on behavior detection.

TSA launched this blog to address the change in how they were relating to passengers. They wanted to “get passengers back on their side.” Passengers are a big part of their security solution. They get about 100 comments per week on the blog from customers, and probably 95% are negative. This is okay, because TSA wants to listen to customers. They especially want to hear not only WHY people are unhappy, but listen and get ideas for how to make the whole process easier. If people understand why TSA does something a certain way, they seem happier to comply. In addition to the public, 3,800 TSA workers a week read the blog.

Many reporters also read the blog, and it’s been a wonderful way to get beyond a sound bite, and really explain why something happens. It’s also a great way to debunk myths, and “set the record straight.” TSA doesn’t blog because they want to feel good. They do it to comment on the news of the day, explain why they do the things they do, and push a strategic debate with the public.

When they started, TSA had 5 bloggers ready to respond to comments – and received 7,500 comments in the first 24 hours. Christopher had initially set it up so he received email every time a comment was posted… but quickly turned that feature off.

One of TSAs most popular posts has been their “Hurray for bloggers” post, where they thanked the public for their comments and explained the actions they would take in response. For example, many people complained about inconsistencies in which items were being removed from their bags, so TSA was able to take those comments and immediately ensure screeners in all 450 airports were screening the same way. It showed that the blog is more than a PR mouthpiece. It has helped them connect with customers and “close the circle” to respond to comments.

They’ve implemented a new feature called “Got feedback?” It will allow user comments to go directly to the customer service rep at 7 airports across the country, so they can respond directly back to the customer.

How did TSA overcome obstacles to launch this? They included their attorneys from the beginning, which was tremendously helpful. Their Chief Counsel is one of their bloggers. Their Administrator, Kip Hawley, has been the driving force behind the blog. Above all, they blog to meet their strategic goals.

Their mantra has been “If you tell us we’re stupid, we’ll listen.” It increases credibility with the public – gives people an opportunity to vent, and to explore the reasons behind what the agency does. If people understand, they’re more apt to comply and be part of the solution.

credit: Christopher White, Transportation Security Administration

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