Web Tools for Transparent Government

SPECIAL REPORT: Transparent Government Solutions

By Jeff Erlichman, 1105 Government Information Group Custom Media.

What Is Social Media and Web 2.0? According to www.webcontent.gov, Social Media and Web 2.0 are umbrella terms that define the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and content creation. Social media use the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner online. Through social media, individuals or collaborations of individuals create web content, organize content, edit or comment on content, combine content, and share content.

On January 21, President Obama took new media in the government mainstream. Here is the memo that launched the government's Transparency and Open Government commitment. Then look below for links you can use for transparency, participation and collaboration.



Memorandum For The Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
DATE: January 21, 2009
FROM: President Barack Obama
SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.

Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.

Government should be collaborative.  Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.  Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.

I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.



Resources and Links from www.webcontent.gov

Social media and Web 2.0 use uses many technologies and forms, including RSS and other syndicated web feeds, blogs, wikis, photo-sharing, video-sharing, podcasts, social networking, social bookmarking, mashups, widgets, virtual worlds, micro-blogs, and more.

Overview: Government and Social Media Presentation (PDF, 7,019 KB, 3/2008, 71 pgs, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Barriers and Solutions to Implementing Social Media and Web 2.0 in Government Recommendations from leaders of the Federal Web Managers Council, December 2008 (PDF, 55 KB, 12/2008, 4 pgs, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Examples of Agencies Using Online Content and Technology to Achieve Mission and Goals (PDF, 45KB, 5 pgs, November 2008, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Matrix of Web 2.0 Technology Tools and Government (PDF, 45 KB, 3/2008, 2 pgs, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


Some Forms of Social Media
Blogs
Microblogging
Podcasting
RSS Feeds
Social Media Releases
Social Networks and Government
Web Chat (Live Support Software)
Wikis
Virtual Worlds

Resources

Gov Gab Blog – Gov Gab's six bloggers share tips and information from the federal government to help you make life a little simpler. Read along each weekday and comment and share your own experiences.

Reference and General Government Gadgets
RSS Feeds from USA.gov and the Federal Citizen Information Center
USA.gov E-mail Subscriptions – Receive an e-mail notification any time one of your favorite USA.gov pages is updated.
USA.gov on Twitter – Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest official government news and information.
USA.gov Tutorials – Get help finding government information and services online.
USA.gov Word Cloud – See the 75 most popular words on USA.gov.
Videos from USA.gov – Watch videos from USA.gov with our accessible video player.
Web Chat – Live personal assistance now available weekdays from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM Eastern Time

Government-Wide 2.0 Tools
Blogs from the U.S. Government – Read blogs from various U.S. government sources.
Government Gadget Gallery – Explore gadgets from across the government.
Government RSS Library – Library of RSS feeds from across the government
Podcasts from the U.S. Government – Listen to podcasts from across the government.
Videos from the U.S. Government – Links to public domain videos that may be used and reproduced without permission or fee
Virtual Tours from the U.S. Government – View virtual tours created by federal government agencies.

More Open Government Sites
www.whitehouse.gov
www.recovery.gov/
www.openthegovernment.org/
http://freegovinfo.info/
www.sunshineweek.org/index.cfm?id=7204
www.wellstone.org/blog/transparency-and-accountability-government
www.sunlightfoundation.com/
www.opensecrets.org/
www.sunlightlabs.com/
www.opencongress.org/


Some Social Networking Sites
Ask
Backflip
BallHype
Bebo
Blinklist
Blogmarks
Delicious
Digg
Diigo
Facebook
Fark
Faves
Favorites
FriendFeed
Furl
Google Bookmarks
Kaboodle
Link-a-Gogo
LinkedIn
Live
Mister Wong
Mixx
Multiply
myAOL
MySpace
Netvouz
Newsvine
Propeller
Reddit
Segnalo
Simpy
Slashdot
Spurl
StumbleUpon
Tailrank
Technorati
Twitter
Yahoo Bookmarks
Yahoo Buzz
Yardbarker
FeedMeLinks