Friday, September 17, 2010

Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas

Toby Fyfe and Paul Crookall wrote a report earlier this year entitled Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas. It was written for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), an organization whose role is to promote excellence in public service.

The report is based on consultations with stakeholders from across Canada and discusses many of the impediments to the use and spread of social media (blogs, wikis, Facebook-style tools) in the public/government sector:
"This research paper examines the thoughts and attitudes of public servants from three levels of government, academics, consultants, and members of think tanks on the legislative, policy and operational implications that arise when new social media tools are used in public sector organizations."

"Questions were asked regarding the efficacy of existing policy and legislative frameworks in areas such as information management, privacy, security and official languages. What is adequate when it comes to government use of social media tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking sites, and Twitter? Are policy objectives that were formulated forty years ago still relevant? How can organizations and public servants mitigate risk?"

"Questions were also asked about the role of social media in addressing the challenges of government modernization and the transformation of hierarchical organizational cultures to ones that are collaborative and open."

"In the digital age information is used by citizens and companies as a resource that can provide economic and social value, increasing a country’s innovative capacity and competitiveness. The discussions centred on the implications of new social media for the management of information by governments."

"This report is part of a larger project designed to support a community of practice in this important area that will be sharing information, devising shared solutions and continuing a collaborative exploration of public sector policy, legislative, and governance issues in the areas of privacy, information management, official languages and security. Phase 1 included five roundtable discussions held in Albany, NY, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Victoria. It also included the exploration, through three case studies, of how similar issues are being tackled in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This outcome report summarizes the findings, provides an 'as-is report' of the roundtable discussions, and concludes with the case studies."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Government of Canada: The Web 2.0 Genie Is Finally Out of the Bottle (June 6, 2008): "Government can appear to be slow when it comes to the IT cutting edge: IT departments are often wary of anything that is 'open source' and are known as 'Microsoft shops'; the open and collaborative (therefore uncontrollable) nature of wikis, blogs and other Web 2.0 applications may not make them attractive to higher ups worried about security, privacy and embarrassing info leaks; and who has the time? Well, it looks like there are many librarians and others in government service who have been waiting for this moment or who have decided to just 'do it!' and forge ahead."
  • Canadian Government Launches Internal Wiki (October 29, 2008): "As reported on the front page of today's Ottawa Citizen, the federal government has launched its own internal version of Wikipedia to which all federal public servants will be able to contribute ..."
  • Government 2.0 Best Practices Wiki (January 7, 2009): "There is information about RSS, Twitter, wiki, YouTube, Second Life, Facebook and social bookmarking projects from government bodies in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK."
  • Web 2.0 Technologies Help Ontario Government Librarians Stay Relevant (October 8, 2009): "An article explains how librarians at the Ontario Legislative Assembly and the Fire Marshall's Office are using Web 2.0 or social networking media such as Twitter and RSS to make sure their services remain relevant ..."
  • Library of Parliament Series on Social Media (April 17, 2010)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:23 pm


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