Web 2.0 Social Computing & Generation Y Action Group
Web 2.0, Social Computing and Generation Y Action Group
The array of tools and resources known as Web 2.0 or Social Computing are important to knowledge management, and also represent a critical path to acceptance by “Generation Y” employees. The Federal government must attract Generation Y (born approximately in the 1978-2000 time period) employees, and this will require some culture change. The Action Group will produce recommendations for effective communications, recruiting and management for Generation Y.
Group mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm posting a few talking points and issues which our group may want to consider. This is by no means complete, but is a beginning of some issue areas. Please feel free to add items and comments... — Dave
Changing organizational culture can be like herding cats. However, the IC is more like herding cats, rats, bats, monkeys, tigers, lions, etc. while some of the animals are flying and jumping around trees, others are trying to eat them. This is where we work...
— Pat Gorman, DNI CIO
I think the above quote can apply to federal government at large.
Goals of this group
This goal of the Web 2.0, Social Computing and Generation Y Action group is to produce informational products in the form of a short paper and presentation, which can serve as an guide for the development of future policy. Our goal should be to describe the current landscape with respect to Web 2.0 and social software, why it is important, and how such tools and technologies could be leveraged by government.
This group is not designed to create policy, but to think about the issues that should drive and inform policy discussions in the future.
One important consideration: Web 2.0 and "social software" transcends the simple issue of reaching out to Gen Y; it also holds value for organizations themselves, especially as individuals able to leverage the technologies becomes parts of these organizations. If the campaign to attract Gen Y is successful, these tools need to be present within organizations to retain talent and foster the new information environment.
Examples to drive this effort include:
- An explanation of Web 2.0 and "social software" — what it is, what it's good for
- Success stories of implementations from various sectors of government
- Links or references describing best practices, documentation, or other relevant resources
- A basic outline addressing general practices and considerations
- A focus on why this is important, and the cultural shift that will be required
Some thoughts have already been put forth on these issues by others in the federal government. Be sure to review the below documents.
Background on "Enterprise 2.0"
Current or relevant issues
Please post news articles, issues for discussion, or other resources below for consideration by the group. Break down by category if necessary. Alternatively,
send to the group mailing list: email@example.com
Government Web 2.0 resources
- CIOs like Web 2.0 tools for sharing information, Federal Computer Week, 14 January 2009
- Social media tools slow to take root, Federal Computer Week, 9 February 2009
- Social Butterflies, nextgov, 12 February 2009
- Embracing Social Networking Tools, Department of the Navy CIO, 13 February 2009
- Twenty Theses for Government 2.0, Cluetrain Style, Steve Radick, 15 February, 2009
- Cyber Threats 101, Washington Post, 16 February 2009
- Intellipedia suffers midlife crisis, Government Computer News, 18 February 2009
- Is the US Ready for a Major Cyber Emergency? MIT Technology Review, 18 February 2009
- Information sharing and privacy aren't mutually exclusive, Government Computer News, 20 February 2009
- CIA, NSA Adopting Web 2.0 Strategies, InformationWeek, 10 March 2009
- The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500, Wall Street Journal, 24 March 2009
- GSA signs agreement with Web 2.0 providers, Federal Computer Week, 25 March 2009
- GSA signs agreement with Facebook, Federal Computer Week, 10 April 2009
Issues to be discussed
Web 2.0 and social software tools
- Types of tools
- Wikis (Wikipedia)
- Blogs (Many examples)
- Social bookmarking (Digg, del.icio.us)
- Social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace)
- Microblogging (Twitter, Yammer)
- Instant messaging (Many examples)
- Photo sharing (Picasa, Flickr)
- Video sharing (YouTube, Google Video)
- Live broadcasting (uStream, Mogulus)
- Growth of these tools has been dramatic
- The old Web was about websites, clicks, and hits; the new web is about the topics, communities, participation, and peering
- Include some general stats, and stats for Gen Y?
Web 2.0 and social software tools have multiple applications for government
- Interacting with the public
- Interacting with potential employees/recruits
- Meet "Generation Y" where it lives and interacts
- Fosters a feeling of participation and the notion that your agency "gets it"
- Internal use (inter-agency, intra-agency)
- Internal blogs, wikis, instant messaging, microblogging
- Allows your best assets — your employees — to interact with one another using familiar tools; cf. computers, email
- Some tools (e.g., wikis) extremely valuable for agile, interactive, living shared information repositories
- Not having modern tools available akin to not having computers, telephones, email, vehicles, other essentials
Maintain an active presence on Web 2.0 sites
- Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Monitor and interact — two-way conduit between agency and public
- Valuable outreach tool
- Assign Community Manager to interact in these venues
- Develop plans for content dissemination, and be prepared to answer questions — Community Manager should have access to internal resources to address questions on employment, procedures, public affairs issues, and so on
Do not block or ban tools
- Misuse of resources is a social, management, and personnel issue, not a technical issue
- "If an inappropriate poster is posted on the wall, we don't ban the wall!" — Chris Rasmussen, Knowledge Manager, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- Disconnects government and its people from real-world flows of information
- Disables proven mechanisms for communication and information sharing
- In highly managed and controlled settings, technical abuse prevention may be acceptable
The Industrial Revolution to the Information Revolution
- The Industrial Age lent itself to traditional social and organizational structure s and hier archies we see today
- The burgeoning Information Age is showing us that the many of the old models are irrelevant
Information is Power
- The benefits of sharing information and interaction outweigh the risks
- Aggregation and analysis information in central, shared repositories goes against the grain of secrecy, compartmentalization, "owning" projects or information, etc.
- Open reporting expands range of expertise and viewpoints available; many problems are of interest to others (NGOs, politicians, corporations) as well
- Making information usable and accessible in an effective way to yourself, your partners, your customers, and the American public is top priority
Do not "silo" information
- Organizational structure still limits the level of inter-/intra-agency interaction
- "Social software silos" are growing in government today: duplication of wikis, blogs, and other software, SharePoint sites which restrict information and assert information "ownership", and so on
- Old organizational models encourage siloing, even while using new these new technologies and tools within the silos
- Serendipitous interaction does not happen in silos
Bureaucratic organizational structure can fundamentally limit application of social software within its ranks
- Social software successes did not sprout out from their industrial age counterparts
- Wikipedia did not arise from Encyclopedia Brittanica
- Facebook did not arise from yearbook innovation at Jostens
- Blogs did not arise from the Old Media's application of new technology
- Applications of technology were evolutionary, not revolutionary...true innovation and revolution came from outside the existing organizational structures and frameworks, and now the old models are being destroyed
Taking the next steps
- We must work to break down these organizational barriers ourselves
- Evangelize new tools (see Intelligence Community model)
- Distribute your own work via these mechanisms when possible
- Push direct management for support
- Push for agency-level support
- Organizational culture will eventually have to choose to sacrifice facets of itself to take the next step
Intelligence Community Web 2.0 and social software efforts in the media:
Spies Form Virtual Units on The Fly to Track Terror
, New York Daily News
, 4 February 2009
When a cell of 10 Islamic militants stole into the Indian port city of Mumbai in November and began to unleash a fusillade of hell on two hotels, a train depot in rush hour and a Jewish center, US spooks scrambled to make sense of it all. About 20 analysts from across the globe immediately convened - not in the same room, but on two classified Web sites called Intellipedia and A-space.
Think of it as Wikipedia and Facebook for spies.
Logged In and Sharing Gossip, er, Intelligence
, New York Times
, 2 September 2007
We see the Internet passing us in the fast lane. We’re playing a little catch-up.
How the Web Can Relieve Our Information Glut and Get Us Talking to Each Other
, CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence
, 15 April 2007
When I joined the Defense Intelligence Agency as an analyst in January 2003, what excited me most was the opportunity to use the Intelligence Community's proprietary technology tools. If the public has access to the amazing capabilities of the World Wide Web, I thought, the Intelligence Community (IC) must be a wonderland: search engines that could read my mind, desktop video conferencing with teammates around the world . . . .
The reality was a colossal letdown. Intelink—the network that was designed to negate the physical distance that separates intelligence agencies and their customers—seems anachronistic in comparison to the Web we use at home. As a technology enthusiast with seven years of Web development experience, I was appalled that the rest of the world had access to better online tools than did the US national security structure—the very creator of “online.” Our search engines return results reminiscent of the pre-Google Web. Our online personnel directories are useless. Agencies and combatant commands use a hodgepodge of incompatible discussion and chat tools, furthering our tendency to speak only with those in our own buildings.
A Wikipedia of Secrets
, Washington Post
, 5 November 2006
Imagine if, in August 2001, the U.S. intelligence agencies had dumped all of their information into one secure, online resource where it was searchable and accessible to anyone who had the proper clearance.