Government 2.0

Study: Many unaware of open government programs; State launches aid dashboard

Open government is getting traction among the public and government employees, but there are still a few gaps. For example, 28 percent of government employees say open government is not funded and 65 percent of people surveyed are unaware of open government initiatives.

Those are two of the findings of the massive Open Government Data Benchmark Study published online Dec. 15 by Socrata Inc. in collaboration with the Sunlight Foundation, the Personal Democracy Forum, GovLoop, Code for America and David Eaves.

The study shares more than two dozen findings based on surveys of consumers, government employees and developers. It explores attitudes, feelings, preferred formats and awareness of open government activity, among other topics.

Other survey findings include:

  • Some 68 percent of users and 93 percent of government employees say if data is available to the public, it should be online.
  • By a three-to-one margin, people are also more likely to vote for politicians who champion open government.
  • 56 percent of government employees said their organizations have a mandate to share data.
  • 56 percent of developers say they can't find the data they need to enable their applications.

Meanwhile, the State Department and Agency for International Development have started an online Foreign Assistance Dashboard to track financial aid to foreign countries.

The data on the foreign aid dashboard is available for download in machine-readable formats. In addition, other agencies that offer foreign assistance will begin adding their data in the coming months.

Jeremy Weinstein, director for democracy on the national security staff at the White House, and Robynn Sturm, adviser to the deputy director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, made the announcement Dec. 16 in a blog post.

Posted on Dec 17, 2010 at 7:25 PM0 comments

White House has a new wiki; NARA, SSA start social media projects

The White House set up a new wiki to get public feedback on the ExpertNet project, and the National Archives and Records Administration and Social Security Administration also announced new social media projects online.

Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra started the wiki to get public input through Jan. 7 on the General Services Administration’s ExpertNet draft design concept project.

According to the ExpertNet proposal, the goal is to enable government officials to easily search for and communicate with people who have expertise on a topic. GSA is looking for information on what software tools and processes to use.

“Why a Wiki?” Chopra asked, going on to explain in the "White House Blog" Dec. 8 that the wiki was adopted “in the spirit of innovation” as a new model for consultation.

Chopra said the White House wants:

  • Suggestions on improving the ExpertNet design concept.
  • Advice on legal, policy and technical issues.
  • Information on software tools that can perform the ExpertNet processes.
  • Pointers to public or private organizations that have similar programs in place.

Meanwhile, NARA is sponsoring what appears to be one of the first federal Twitter-based competitions. The goal is to recast each of the sections of the Bill of Rights as its own tweet. Read about it here.

SSA has set up a Web page that asks for input from the public on its new strategic plan for 2011 through 2016. The details are here.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Dec 09, 2010 at 7:25 PM0 comments

8 vital White House Twitter feeds

Navigating the eight official White House Twitter accounts just got easier, thanks to a timely directory posted on the president’s blog on Nov. 15.

First, there are the most popular and well-known accounts:

  • @whitehouse, with 1.9 million followers.
  • @OpenGov, for the administration’s open government initiatives, 117,000 followers.
  •  @PressSec for Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 113,000 followers.
  •  @whitehouseostp, for the Office of Science & Technology Policy, 108,000 followers.

But there also are some lesser-known official White House accounts that the Twitterati apparently have not discovered yet in massive numbers. These include:

  • @billburton44, for Bill Burton, deputy press secretary, 16,000 followers.
  • @petesouza, for Pete Souza, chief official White House photographer, 7,300 followers.
  • @macon44, for Macon Phillips, White House new media director, 3,900 followers.

There is also a Spanish-language companion to the main White House account, @lacasablanca, with 5,787 followers.

In recent days, if you were following all eight accounts, you would have learned in advance that the SAVE award announcement was coming today and been invited to submit questions via tweet in the new First Questions program.

Not to mention, you might have read Phillips’ description of the Nov. 5 White House blog post, “Intern Picks: 10 Must-See White House videos.” Phillips tweeted that it was “perhaps the most agonized-over blog post in history.”

I had skipped over the intern blog post before, but after reading that introduction, I just had to check it out.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:25 PM1 comments

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