(or "free the nerds")
In any organization, corporation or government, there are people who want to help, and can do a great job with maybe a little media guidance. People on the front lines know more about day-to-day realities than many managers.
At craigslist, Jeremy Zawodny and I reach out in a big way, particularly blogging. Others on the team do so as useful.
Clay Shirky articulates this better in Transparency is the new marketing.
After a disastrous PR-inflected attempt to “reach out” to techies on Slashdot, an influential tech blog, Intel finally realized that the best way to broker a conversation with the outside world was to let its engineers venture outside, without PR handlers. This necessitated some internal directives about how to participate in public forums, but a real conversation works better than one mediated by PR.
Again, the Obama campaign demonstrated this new relationship between organizations and clients. Its goal was to reach tens of millions of supporters on a tight budget and in a very short time frame. The only way to do that was to recruit supporters as participants. The Obama campaign thus started with the logic that the media landscape has changed—a lesson Intel, HSBC, and US airlines painfully discovered.
Sure, there are always private or sensitive matters, but those are the exception.