Dead but not completely buried

For various personal reasons, I stopped updating this blog two years ago. So when the domain name came up for renewal recently, I decided it was not worthwhile to keep paying for something I was not using, so has gone.

I archived the site as a subdomain of my own blog, because hopefully somebody might find something here useful. Just do not expect any updates, it is an archive.

AGIMO have a blog

The Web Publishing Guide Review

AGIMO (the Australian Government Information Management Office) has a blog which is dedicated to the review of the Web Publishing Guide. Hopefully this blog will lead by example in showing how a Government department can communicate using a blog, lead to a more useful and usable Web Publishing Guide. As well as AGIMO beginning to understand web 2.0 tools and will start making use of other web 2.0 tools.

The big surprise for me (blogging more than a year after I expected is only minor), is that it is hosted in the cloud by Not that there is anything wrong with this. I would actually recommend hosting a blog with as this resolves issues regarding security and keeping the wordpress current. It is just a conservative government department with I assume considerable IT resources surrendering the total control of hosting in house for the less secure external hosting.

OpenID Pilot Program to be Announced by US Government

If this is true OpenID Pilot Program to be Announced by US Government is should a huge impact on identity management within government, even in Australia.

If large agencies are willing to accept authentication from third parties, it means that users will no longer have to remember their username and password for each different agency they deal with. One username and password they use on a regular basis is all the need to access the services from any number of government agencies.

It is good for government agencies, it simplifies their task by using a third party to provide industry standard authentication and removing their involvement in password management.

The individual still has to prove their identity to each government agency, but once the identity is proven, management will be simplified.

The system is being constructed so agencies will not be able to match data on the OpenID provided. Though who does not have more than one Yahoo!, PayPal, Google, or one of the other providers OpenIDs? I only have 5 or 6. The paranoid could have one openID per agency, they just have to remember which one they need for each agency. While the rest of us settle down to doing business with government on a more secure basis.

Using Facebook to find people

I was speaking to a friend in another WA State Government Department who mentioned in passing their section where using Facebook. Knowing their Department was extremely conservative and they where working in the legal section, I asked how.

The legal enforcement unit is using Facebook to track down people. Some people make themselves difficult to find by normal means but keep updating their Facebook account and provide investigators with details of their friends, who might know their location.

Of course, the head of the legal section needed to write a formal business case just to get one staff member access to Facebook. In a Department that strictly controls access to social media for staff, is now using social media to find people that it can not find using traditional methods.

One of Gov 2.0 more challenging spaces

Like me, you may believe the social media space is dominated by greener side of politics and conservationists. So it would be a brave move for a Government trading enterprise established to develop and market timber resources to enter the social media arena. The Forrest Products Commission is doing just that by making use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media tools

The real question is if the Forrest Products Commission can operate in what could be considered enemy territory, why are other agencies with less controversial roles, making uses of these tools?

Commonwealth Government 2.0 Taskforce visits Perth

I was fortunate enough to get along to both the Commonwealth Government 2.0 Taskforce roundtable and the roadshow.

The roundtable could be seen as getting the big end of town (I was the only male not wearing a tie, but hey I was on holidays) together and talking about the issues. The problem was most those issues where still web1.0 issues like accessibility and not web2.0 issues like effective engagement.

What the roundtable reinforced for me, other than WA is falling well behind the Commonwealth and other states, was that local councils had the most to gain from adopting web2.0 tools.

The stories where surprisingly familiar, one local council decided it was time to put itself on facebook. Only to find that there where already 8 groups on facebook used by staff to engage the ratepayers. The surprise was the IT manager proudly claiming, the most effective was for a council run festival which had over 600 friends and is now was being used as the example of how the council can use facebook effectively.

The roadshow was a collection of familiar faces from a number of state government agencies and a mix of people I did not know from the commonwealth, state and local government and even a couple from the private sector. This time the issues where web2.0, particularly rules of engagement, including legal issues and getting executive support.

The great majority are waiting for the directive from above, along with a neat package of guidelines on how to use web2.0 to engage their clients. The minority are out there doing it, starting with small pilot projects and using the success of these to convince executive to continue these projects and explore other possibilities.

Doing Facebook right

school leavers website

I was invited by the Ark Group to present at their Web 2.0 for Business seminar on how the State Library was using Web 2.0 applications. The presentation before mine was from the Office of Crime Prevention, which is part of the WA Police Department on their use of Facebook for School Leavers week. They have been using Facebook since 2005 to promote their stay safe and look after your mates messages as well their events. All very low key and well target, that is why most people over 21 knew nothing about them but from all accounts very effective.

Unfortunately, the school leavers site is undergoing major revision and the facebook presence for 2009 has not been launched. So like me you will have to check back in September or October.

This site has not been abandoned

It is just I have not spent enough time searching out Government sites that do the right thing recently. I can’t promise that it will change in the near future, but I want to keep this site running to promote Government sites doing the right thing with web 2.0. So if you know of any please let me know.

Some big names using a wiki

The Federal Computer Week’s Who’s using wikis is a short list of large US federal agencies who are using wikis. Just the agency name, the wiki name and a very brief summary. Just enough for you to do further research, for example Intellipedia and Diplopedia have detailed wikipedia entries. Or to convince doubters that wikis can be effectively used for knowledge sharing and collaboration, even across agencies, no matter how sensitive the information might be.

Digital Economy Future Directions blog

Dept Broadband Communications and Digital Economy

Buried deep inside the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy is the two day old Digital Economy Future Directions blog.

Unfortunately, the blog was set up by people without a good understanding of social media, this is apparent as you read through the about page. With a promise that a future post will be on:

How do we maintain the same civil society we enjoy offline in an online world?

Clearly this blog was set up as a one way conduit for collecting input into issues that are to be included in a Future directions paper, that will delivered early next year. It will be interesting to see if this blog develops beyond that limited scope into a device for conversation.

Bad points

Good Points

  • It is a Federal Government blog on a fairly high profile subject.
  • People are willing to get involved, there have been over 600 comments on two posts in less than two days. The bad news is most are diatribes about internet filtering.

It is a baptism of fire for the team behind the blog and it will be interesting to see what will happen. This blog will either evolve or be buried under the landslide of comments about internet filtering. It is a case of unfortunate timing, if this blog was launched a couple of months ago, it could of been a good tool in the debate on internet filtering. Now most people have a strong opinion on internet filtering and are willing to voice them. The blog team needs to weather this storm of comments and stay focused. Otherwise this blog will be buried as will the chances of seeing any other blogs from the Australian Federal Government on high profile topics.

My words of advice to the communications team at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Look at how other government high profile blogs that work successfully, Evolution of Security is my favourite example. Find people inside your department who use social media and get their advice. If that fails, hire somebody who knows their way around social media ( two Canberrans that spring to mind are Trib and NathanaelB spring to mind) for guidance. Finally good blogs are not about making announcements and receiving comments, it is about conversation. So please make the effort to converse with us.