Government 2.0

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Many federal blogs wither from neglect

More than 100 federal agency blogs are being published regularly on the Web and new ones are being created every few weeks.

But not all of them are healthy. Some are on the sick list.

What do you call a federal blog that has not been updated in three to four months? Five months? It certainly doesn't leave a good impression.

 “Blogs need to be updated frequently and consistently,” said Danielle Bailey, research lead on the L2 Public Sector Digital IQ study.

“If a blog is not updated in several months or a year, that is a dead blog, and if you link to a dead blog, that makes a bad impression,” said Adriel Hamption, founder of Gov2.0Radio.

That is why we are launching a “Dying Blog List” highlighting a few of the federal agency blogs that have languished for months at a time without any new content. We compiled the list with a quick look around several federal agency websites; it is not a comprehensive list. Feel free to add to it.

1. GLOBE Scientists’ Blog, last updated Aug. 26, 2010

2. CDC Injury Center Director’s View Blog, last updated Sept. 21, 2010

3. President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board Blog, last updated Sept. 22, 2010.

4. HHS’ “Open Government at HHS Blog,” last updated Oct. 17, 2010.

5. CDC’s Medical Colleges and Universities Roundtable Blog, last updated Oct. 22, 2010

The Dying Blogs may be still be resuscitated and life breathed back into them with a little effort. Let’s see what happens.

In other Web 2.0 news, the General Services Administration updated its page offering resources to agencies on Web pages, social media, mobile applications and other technologies. The most recent guideline was for using plain language on websites and other communication.

The new page appears to be well-designed and has a live Twitter feed that adds updated content. But other than the Twitter feed it is hard to find out what’s new on the site, so perhaps there could be an app for that?

Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is getting more involved with social media for its disaster response.

FEMA is using Twitter to disseminate disaster and response information, NextGov reported in a recent article.

According to Wired magazine, FEMA Chief Craig Fugate recently visited California to meet with Wired, Twitter, Craigslist, Apple and Facebook to see how digital tools can be better used at FEMA. FEMA already is one of the most active agencies on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Reader Comments

Mon, Jan 24, 2011

L2 writes on blogs being out dated in months...we have many that go back THREE YEARS! Maybe that's why they gave USDA a "mediocre" rating as an agency.

Mon, Jan 24, 2011 Glenn Schlarman Annandale, VA

No surprise here. It's Deja vu all over again. Back in the mid-90s when the Web and agency use of it was in itself innovative, I watched from OMB as agency folks received Hammer awards simply for building a website. It didn't have to actually do anything, but hey it was new and exciting. Before that, Newsgroups and email lists garnered the same attention. Well for the most part, the bloom fell off the rose pretty quickly as folks realized maintenance took time and wasn't sexy nor award worthy. Many websites withered from neglect and weren't revived till they delivered real value. The use of Blogs, tweeting, Facebook, etc. will be the same. As the luster of newness fades, we'll move on to something else in the search for value.

Mon, Jan 24, 2011

Shrug. Like any other media fad, people jumped on blogs. And many got a pat on the head for doing so. But absent any major business benefit from keeping a blog fresh, if the original author retires, changes jobs, or gets busy with real work, nobody else in the organization sees any urgent need to jump in. Putting words in a row in a meaningful and interesting fashion is a time-sucker, as FCW surely knows. If your core business is something else, well....

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