Monday, February 27, 2012

Time for Social Media Tools in Government?

The web is now woven intricately through our everyday lives -  it helps us be more connected, better informed, allows us to react faster and provide information more accurately (except maybe at work)
Top down decisions on who can do what (and when and where) stops us from fixing problems, communicating effectively and building close relationships with our colleagues - and more importantly the people we are trying to serve.  The technology we use at work needs catch up with the on-line tools we use everyday at home.
So, if you give your people access to the parts of the web they actually need to do their jobs in this century – what’s the problem?
Let’s be clear here - we’re not advocating a free for all discussion on national security on Twitter or Facebook – but, letting people know that the bins aren’t going to be collected because of snow, or the outcome of a local service review was positive or even that the local hospital is looking for volunteers – where’s the harm in that?
The IT guys will tell if you give your people access to the web the sky will fall in – your legal department will sternly inform you that you are ‘being brave’ – but in reality your people will get on and get stuff done efficiently and quickly using web tools and services they already know and use intimately.
Oh, and fooey to the doom merchants - the world won’t stop on its axis because you’ve put in sensible policies (managed by people you trust) and appropriate controls, filtering, monitoring and reporting.  You know exactly who’s allowed to access what, where and when - so they’ll not be catching up on the football, watching a cookery program on their laptop or updating their personal status on duty.
We think it's time to help governments make the social bits of the web useful and productive.

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