UK Government & Social Media… Ones to Watch

I was lucky enough to start work with the UK Government just as it began to take an interest in what we are now/currently calling social media. That was 2005 and there was hardly anything happening. Today, it’s a different story.

With a host of initiatives on the go, I thought I’d pick out 10 that I think are particularly interesting:

  1. Ministry of JusticeBarCampUKGovweb was an idea floating about waiting to happen, and Jeremy Gould got it off the ground. It’s the first event of its kind for the UK government.
  2. National Health Service – The Our NHS, Our Future activity is putting a lot of weight on its online engagement components. The issue is meaty and its an intriguing opportunity for NHS stakeholders to direct its development. But will the people come? And how will the government tie up their online with the offline activity?
  3. Foreign and Commonwealth Office – when David Miliband arrived, engagement shot up the agenda, particularly online. Not content with just the Secretary of State blogging, staff from across the FCO were invited to get in on the action and duly did.
  4. Government Communications Network – the Social Media Review and associated activities, being led out of the GCN, is taking on the challenge of helping an area of government so used to controlling the message to adapt to a new communications environment.
  5. Downing Street – it’s use of ePetitions was the biggest UK eDemocracy story yet. But will it see out the winter? Well, yes, but with parliament planning its own online petitions system, will time be called on the government’s biggest and most infamous social media experiment yet?
  6. Communities and Local Government – the CLG rebuilt its corporate website using community software. The CLG was one of the first departments to make a conscious effort to utilise social media. The use of deliberative forums by a range of policy teams is worth watching alone, then you factor in the blogs and wikis and you start to realise the importance of this department’s activity.
  7. Defra – the software that runs the CO2 calculator, complete with the government data, has been made freely available under general public licence. Google has used it in its carbon footprint widget.
  8. DirectGov – according to the ONS, 6 in 10 of the UK’s web users have accessed government services via DirectGov. So, where to now? Is there room for a social media angle in the next phase of development?
  9. Ministry of Justice – OK, I’m a bit bias but Digital Dialogues, which is in its final phase, has been putting data about government blogs, forums, webchats etc in the public domain since all this social media interest kicked off.
  10. SS/SIS – a bit of a flippant inclusion. I’ve no idea what they’re doing with social media but whatever it is, it’s bound to be worth keeping an eye on.

Please flag up any others you know about. Maybe there’s some similar stuff going on elsewhere in this big globe of ours.

7 thoughts on “UK Government & Social Media… Ones to Watch

  1. Great list. I sense 2008 will be the point we see a lot of collaborative thinking within government departments about the use of social media.
    Will blog this and add to my tumblr list to keep tabs on.

  2. […] has now posted a piece to his blog – UK Government & Social Media… Ones to Watch – which gives us a round-up of initiatives that he sees as promising. I was lucky enough to start […]

  3. Only just came across this while researching for a possible job move – and it’s immensely helpful. Cheers for crediting CLG, this is a really fair assessment of government’s early forays into social web technologies I think.

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