September 10, 2009|
It is day two of the O’Reilly Gov 2.0 Summit, and I had an interesting conversation at lunch with a person who works in a well known US federal agency. I’m not going to share this person’s name or agency since I don’t want this person to get unwanted attention.
This person follows the the following maxim when it comes to new experiments: “It is sometimes easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” This is in reference to how this person set up a Facebook page for their particular department. Further, he/she also follows retweets about how members of the public react to interacting with the agency. If they find someone who has a question, the agency provides an answer via twitter.
I was surprised that this person seems to enjoy a degree of freedom that I did not expect one could have in the bureaucratic federal government. This person mentioned that while he/she and his/her boss are “uncomfortable” for a week or two after starting something like a department Facebook page without permission, they have been vindicated. Of course, that’s if what they do succeeds; they would be in trouble if something they do fails.
I applaud this person’s initiative and willingness to trail blaze. Of course, I understand that there is judgment required when trying new strategies out. It is one thing to send someone to a useful webpage via twitter than it is to divulge sensitive information over a non-government network. Further, I understand the comfort and protection of waiting to get permission before experimenting, but nonetheless I wish this person success. Hopefully, he/she will help inspire federal agencies to use social media more to serve the public better.