I’ve been working in the Central Office of Information for just short of 9 months.
I work on an array of the digital media projects, but the area I value most is the use of social media to enable engagement.
It is in the area that I see Government undertaking some of its most open and purposeful innovation. And, I think the fruits of that activity are up there with the very best from the consumer, educational and media sectors.
There’s always more work to be done, but I wanted to draw attention to ten current examples set to advance our understanding and capacity.
[In no particular order…]
1. UK Trade and Investment – LinkedIn Group
A clever use of LinkedIn for stakeholder engagement. The UKTI LinkedIn group brings together trade and investment experts and businesses. It offers knowledge, insight, support and facilitates connections. The group is open to worldwide businesses of any size, sector, or level of international trade.
2. Business, Innovation and Skills – Science: [So What? So everything]
BIS is the Muhammad Ali of the Government’s heavyweight digital engagement division – tireless, fleet of foot and inventive. I could have selected any of a number of examples but I’ve gone for Science: [So What? So everything] because it is a campaign about to go through change. Expect to see clever use of community to amplify existing UK science content online, and agile use of tools to light up user-pathways to everything from careers to events.
3. Department for International Development – ‘Building Our Common Future’ White Paper
Steph Gray said it most succinctly on his blog ‘this is a sign of the future for major white papers – blending the downloadable PDF with a package of summary versions, background info, video and materials for people who want to engage around the issues online.’ Based on these solid beginnings expect more advances in this area. Have a look at the accompanying SMNR while you are at it.
4. Cabinet Office – Civil Service Jobs API
The Civil Service site brings all public sector jobs online into one place. But it hasn’t stopped there; there is also the Civil Service Job Service API for government departments to use and incorporate onto their own sites. This is a great example of cross-government collaboration. It has even spawned an iPhone App, which I admit I haven’t used (well, I’ve no use for it do I), produced by Aspire Media.
5. Downing Street – Twitter
1,089,557 followers at the time of writing. Regular, consistent, engaging tweets. Nuff said.
6. Ministry of Defence – Defence Bloggers
‘Defence Headquarters’ already has an impressive track record in use of social media. As this portal page demonstrates, blogs, YouTube and Twitter are being used by a range of staff from press officers to squaddies. MoD has recently developed excellent guidance to help staff navigate between their personal, sponsored and official online profiles; so I anticipate the MoD list growing in length and sophistication.
7. Cabinet Office – Data.gov.uk
Nothing much to see at the moment, but with Tim Berners-Lee installed as Information Advisor and departments – like the Home Office – surfacing data sets, we should see some significant movement in the coming months.
8. Cabinet Office – DirDigEng Blog
Off to a cautious start, but with occasional guest-posts from officials like Neil Williams, this blog is set to become the most important touch-point for anyone keen to keep up with digital goings-on across government.
9. DirectGov – Innovate
An excellent platform to enable collaboration with developer communities. In addition to the team blog, you can submit examples of innovative apps or ideas for apps that could be developed. I expect this to be the first of many such initiatives across government; although based as it is on DirectGov, this platform ought to become a focal point for citizen-focused apps. There is already some great to stuff to check out.
10. Foreign & Commonwealth Office – Digital Diplomacy Blog
Given Gordon Brown’s pronouncement (at TED Global 2009) that ‘technology means that foreign policy will never be the same‘, the work of the Office of Digital Diplomacy at the FCO has taken on even greater importance. Stephen Hale is the Head of Engagement there, and his blog is consistently insightful – ranging across evaluation, tools, policies and all with a unique foreign policy lens.
If you know of examples that ought to have been on the list, leave a comment.