Gov 2.0: Quit The Social Media Whining, Bureaucrats - InformationWeek

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5/25/2010
03:22 PM
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Gov 2.0: Quit The Social Media Whining, Bureaucrats

Even at the Gov 2.0 Expo, a government IT event where the geeks seem to outnumber the bureaucrats, I hear the same old refrain about social media and open data from some questioners and attendees: we can't do this, management won't accept it, government regulations make it too hard.

Even at the Gov 2.0 Expo, a government IT event where the geeks seem to outnumber the bureaucrats, I hear the same old refrain about social media and open data from some questioners and attendees: we can't do this, management won't accept it, government regulations make it too hard.I hear this despite the Obama administration's Open Government Directive (a transparency mandate), despite massive adoption by social media by the general public and increasing social media presence of top government officials, despite open data efforts like data.gov.

Carolyn Lawson, director of eServices for the office of the CIO for the state of California, won't accept this philosophy. "Ready or not, here it is," she said in a Tuesday morning session at the Gov 2.0 Expo on "navigating the maze" of social media. "The reality is that people will go through the cracks and crevices to find the dirt, and it sometimes will be painful, but here it is."

That being the case, Lawson said, governments and government agencies should quit the hand wringing about social media and open government and get practical, instead focusing on governance and policy. "Many in government have a social media policy, but governance around social media is not something that's necessarily commonly talked about," she said.

That's easy to change, she said, pointing to clearinghouses of policy and governance information on the Web like the Federal Web Managers Council's Social Media Subcouncil wiki and a set of links to various social media governance policies in and outside of government. The point? Quit complaining and get to planning. It's inevitable, and the wait will only make for more work when you actually get down to business.

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