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Blogging in the public sector report

Prof David Wyld has published a study via the IBM Center for the Business of Government on The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0 (or go directly to the 99 page pdf):

Dr. Wyld examines the phenomenon of blogging in the context of the larger revolutionary forces at play in the development of the second-generation Internet, where interactivity among users is key. This is also referred to as "Web 2.0." Wyld observes that blogging is growing as a tool for promoting not only online engagement of citizens and public servants, but also offline engagement. He describes blogging activities by members of Congress, governors, city mayors, and police and fire departments in which they engage directly with the public. He also describes how blogging is used within agencies to improve internal communications and speed the flow of information.

Based on the experiences of the blogoneers, Wyld develops a set of lessons learned and a checklist of best practices for public managers interested in following in their footsteps. He also examines the broader social phenomenon of online social networks and how they affect not only government but also corporate interactions with citizens and customers.

I've skimmed through the entire article (many pages of tables and screenshots and the last 30 pages are reference material).  The study is split into three sections, covering blogging in the public sector from congress to local politicians (including tips on starting your own); the larger Web 2.0 phenomena; and guidelines on the future of public sector blogging and a view to research.

Some quick highlights.  Here are the types of public official blogs that Wyld categorized (page 15): travel blogs; blow-by-blow blogs (live blogging); personal blogs; and team blogs.  Wyld also notes that beyond blogging, officials (and their staff) can publish comments on other blogs or similar websites.  He also provides extensive lists of current bloggers in congress, state governors & legislatures, about two dozen city mayors, and even a few police and fire departments.

There is a quick case study from the US Strategic Command on organizational blogging (page 30-32).  From this report, it appears blogging is deeply embedded into STRATCOM from 4-star leadership on down.  Note how Wyld introduces it (emphasis mine):

As will be discussed in the second part of this report, organizations are discovering blogs to be an excellent tool to better internal communications and knowledge management. the best governmental example of such organizational blogging is going on in perhaps the most important of all public sector organizations today: the U.S. military.

And in the report provides "10 Tips for Blogging by Public Sector Executives."  Most of these could be just as easily applied to anyone starting a blog.

  1. Define yourself and your purpose.
  2. Do it yourself!
  3. Make a time commitment.
  4. Be regular.
  5. Be generous.
  6. Have a "hard hide."
  7. Spell-check.
  8. Don't give too much information.
  9. Consider multimedia.
  10. Be a student of blogging.

Interestingly, there isn't a tip that says "don't be stupid" (thanks Scoble), although they do provide an example of what not to do: post a ranty entry at 2 AM.

In the last section of the report, it provides some suggestions on how the value of blogging might be calculated through ROI or other metrics of value to public sector officials.  Most of the suggestions have to do with tracking attention that the blog is creating.  I like the idea of tracking activity "on blog" (comments on the blog) and "off blog" articles that reference the blog elsewhere on the web or in other media.

The extensive references section includes several pages of Web 2.0 definitions that might be a useful resource all on its own.

[found via DDJ's Portal Blog via one of my mailing lists]

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