Federal webmasters move ahead for better government

Federal webmasters move ahead for better government


Hey, they're itching for inauguration, but they're not waiting.
The Federal Web Managers Council (FWMC) gets how people can use the Web to move to a more effective Federal government. Nancy Scola at TechPresident.com discusses a FWMC paper which addresses the really difficult human issues with moving forward, and describes the beginning of solutions:

  • The new Administration should communicate a government-wide strategy for using social media tools to create a more effective and transparent government. The new Administration’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) should require each agency to, within three months, develop their own social media/Web 2.0 communications strategy that describes how it will use their agency website and the larger Web to accomplish its mission, reach new audiences, and engage the public. The strategy should include resources needed to accomplish these goals.
  • The new Administration should require agencies to provide access to social media sites unless the agency head justifies blocking certain employees or certain sites.
  • The new Administration (through the National CTO, GSA, OMB, or some other central organization) should a) Establish a single terms of service that covers all social media sites, which excludes the federal government from the provisions described above. (If this isn’t possible, at a minimum, create a standard federal terms of service with each site and establish a process for adding new agreements as new sites are identified.) b) Alert federal agencies that the benefits of using these sites outweigh the risks and that they should use social media sites pending agreements on terms of service.
  • The new Administration should:
    1. Issue a memo stating that government agencies should accept this kind of contextual advertising as a byproduct of using social media sites, that advertising online is no different than advertising in a magazine, newspaper, radio, or TV, where you can’t control exactly how your content will appear in context. However, if this is not possible:
    2. Set criteria for all agencies for when such ads are acceptable. For example, ads could be acceptable when:
    * They are ubiquitous, appearing on all similar pages on a site, regardless of the account owner
    * They do not include pornography or violence
    * There isn't confusing language that implies endorsement by the account owner (e.g., "promoted" or "sponsored" material)

  • The new Administration should work with procurement and ethics attorneys to ensure that:
    1. Agencies can use free Web products and services.
    2. Agencies do not need to use all products and services offered, as long as they have criteria for deciding which ones they use.
    3. Employees with a clear business need can create accounts to use free services, as long as they have managerial approval.

Hey, there's more, but you get the idea. We have something real going on, change in the way government works from the line workers.




Many of us in federal service have already been involved with "breaking the rules" to try to better serve the public (like our alcatrazisland Twitter feed, which like all social networking sites are blocked on my work computer) and we look forward to a change under the next administration.

Darlene Cavalier

While I love the push for a more transparent and participatory Executive Branch, shouldn't we ask Congress to operate with a similar "mojo?" Doesn't seem like an authentic democracy if only the Executive Branch is brought into the 90s… Congress deserves the same degree of attention and assistance, in my humble opinion.

Sam Greenfield

Why should I be forced to view advertising to receive information from the government?


Change.org is a tool that can get the government's attention, sounds good, but it is numbers of VOTES that puts an item at the top for consideration.
So issues like getting Leonard Peltier out of prison may not be heard (he needs over 1,350 more votes by tonight Dec 31 2008, by midnight PST, to make the cutoff for consideration).
"Convicted on the basis of fabricated and suppressed evidence, as well as coerced testimony, Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for over 30 years for a crime he did not commit."
Leonard is a political prisoner, and we need to get him out of prison.
Clicking on the word vote to the left of the title.
For more information see this discussion thread

Jeffrey Levy

@Sam: you shouldn't have to view ads to get gov't info.
However. Would you prefer to find info where you travel on a normal basis, like YouTube and Facebook, where you could become a "fan" of multiple gov't pages, or would you rather travel to each of multiple gov't sites?
That's the real question.
The reason we're trying to get info on those kinds of sites is because that's where people are. And while it's free to us to provide it on those sites, the sites have to make money somehow.
That said, I strongly advocate for us to have our info on our own sites as well, so you have the choice of how you want to find it. And you also can double-check that what find outside of our sites is really ours.
Jeffrey Levy
Co-author of the paper Craig's discussing above
Director of Web Communications

Comments are closed.