Posts tagged: public administration

First amendment writes

I get giddy when I hear about government using social media. See, there’s this concept installed in my mind that government is some type of closed society – all the red tape makes it hard to get information, connect with representatives… You know what I mean. Social media is all the things government isn’t – convenient, social, authentic, informative. (Should I stop here and apologize to my dad, who is a member of local government? Sorry dad, I know you’re not all thugs.)

At the same time, I’m enthralled by anyone who uses social media for reasons outside the norm. The norm, in this case, includes connecting with an established network of friends and colleagues, marketing, and customer service. Anytime organizations use social media to accomplish more I get impressed.

So naturally, when I read this post about government responding to citizens via social media, I got excited. See, they’re using Twitter, YouTube, and blogging to educate the public about a recent salmonella outbreak. See? That’s clever. It kind of reminds me of when the CDC monitored blogs to locate flu outbreaks. Cool stuff, right?

I love the idea of real people representing ‘the powers that be’ connecting with us mere mortals with tools that are already developed. I love the idea of being able to access information – or access someone who can access information. I’m looking forward to engaging with representatives of local government and beyond. I can’t wait to see new ways of stimulating efficiency with communication enhanced by social media. How about you?

If you’re into this as much as I am, you may want to check out GovLive Tweets – a feed that tracks tweets from 540 different public entities.

Confidential leaks in social media

Apparently there have been some data leaks via Twitter and Facebook from the Ministry of Defense in the UK. We thought this might be a good time to brief everyone on acceptable communication on social media sites.

Things that are acceptable to Tweet (that means “post on Twitter,” for the newbies)

  • Tonight’s dinner plans
  • Your reaction to the day’s news
  • Where you spotted Paris Hilton incognito
  • Your reaction to “Pants on the Ground”
  • Your boss’s reaction to “Pants on the Ground”
  • What you think about Conan O’Brien
  • A link to an interesting article or development in your field of expertise
  • A picture of something scandalous written in “clean” on the back of a dirty truck
  • What your husband said in his sleep

Things that are unacceptable to Tweet

  • Names of secret agents
  • Passwords to access confidential government data
  • Troop movements – planned or actual
  • Where the President, Prime Minister, or Queen will be tomorrow at 9:14
  • How to gain access to limited-access government buildings
  • Credit card numbers – yours or someone else’s
  • Trade secrets
  • Compromising pictures of your boss (unless of course, you’re trying to get fired)
  • What your wife calls your ‘man parts’ – you might not get fired for it, but you’ll probably end up on the couch
  • Unpublicized names of nominees for a government position
  • Anything else confidential, related to national security, or requiring top secret clearance

So, that’s about it folks. Hopefully this was nothing new to anyone. If it was, please call someone for help – it doesn’t need to be me. Call up the nearest college student – they’ll get you sorted.


We posted a while back about Boston’s use of Citizens Connect iPhone app, but CNN picked up a story today as front page online, and Boston is just one of numerous cities using the technology. In New York, San Francisco, Washington, and who knows where else, citizens can contact city hall about non-urgent matters of public works upkeep.

This is more than just an inventive way of applying technology to routine tasks. This puts governance in the hands of the people. Instead of shaking our heads with downcast eyes as we pass newly painted graffiti, we now have the power to alert the correct department and reclaim the upkeep of our cities.

Local governments have posted sets of data for the use of developers, because, as CNN’s article says, “tech communities are better able to make government data useful than the governments themselves, said Peter Corbett, CEO for iStrategyLabs and organizer of a contest called “Apps for Democracy” in Washington.”

DWIii-ted on Twitter!

Montgomery Texas is getting ready to name drunk drivers on Twitter! Name ‘em & shame ‘em! This is just one more way local municipalities are using Twitter for public administration at the civic level. I love it. Twitter account @MontgomeryTXDAO will post names of people arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in an effort to persuade people to find a designated driver.

Apparently there’s some controversy about it – lawyers tell us that it isn’t right to publicize a DWI offender until he’s had his day in court. But as for me, I’m happy with any plan that keeps me and my kids a little safer on the road.

Tweet DWI

Citizens Connect in Boston

citizens-connectThe City of Boston has announced a seriously intuitive operational use of social media through an iPhone app that allows the residents and visitors to alert the public works department of annoyances like graffiti, potholes, streetlights out, and such.

It’s simple – snap a picture of a pothole or graffiti, and on your GPS-enabled iPhone will alert the correct department to conduct the repairs – all the way down to the guy on duty. That’s operational effectiveness. NPR’s coverage will give you all the details of it, and it’s really cool.

How about you? Have any really intuitive ways to use social media for operational effectiveness?

Tweets by EngageThem