Tales of our journey
through the digital
From hurricane information widgets from the National Weather
service to the Mars Phoenix Twitter account and TroopTube – allowing service men and women to
connect with their families and supporters –
the federal government is embracing social media and new web technologies in an effort collectively referred to as “Government 2.0.”
Many of these efforts were begun before the recent change in
administration, but have accelerated with the inauguration – itself covered in new media channels like none before it – of our Blackberry–addicted
leader. For example, TweetCongress now tracks members of both Houses who participate on Twitter, allowing you to follow
them en masse, individually, or just see what they’re saying.
Transparency in government was the theme this past weekend at Transparency
Camp – a conference focused on building open government. Topics included online civic engagement, communicating with Congress, and expectations of open government data. Transparency is a
recurring theme of the new administration as well. Recovery.gov will include
an RSS feed to track how and where all those economic recovery funds are being
spent. The White House website (which we’ve previously reviewed) also contains a department by department breakdown of the 2010 federal budget.
Speaking of how funds are being spent, if you’re looking for
a government grant, go straight to the source and visit Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/search/agency.do) to see a complete list of available (and real)
If you’re interested in learning more about what federal web
managers are up to, check out the Social Media & Web 2.0 in Government
Guidelines – http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/technology/other_tech.shtml.
A few of our favorite federal forays into social media include the Twitter
feeds and Facebook pages for each NASA mission (I’m friends with the soon to be
launched Solar Observer), and the
Smithsonian American Art Museum Blog Eye Level that offers a
great behind the scenes view of life at a museum. What are your favorites?