The Canadian Government Awakens to social media – forget the buzzwords, it’s time for action!

What a week. I must say I haven’t been so excited and engulfed with new public sector social media developments in a while. First of all, I have noticed an influx of articles, reports and network formation in this field. It must have something to do with the “Fall” season and everyone getting back in their game in preparation for what looks to be a landmark year for government service-delivery in a Web 2.0 era.
Here are some things I learned this week:

  1. The Federal government has created an official, inter-departmental, cross-functional team of consultants, managers and directors to come up with a Social Media government engagement strategy. While, to many this may sound like just another stagnant bureaucratic, process-focused team that will lead to nothing, I beg to differ.Why? let’s just say I met some of the team members at a presentation I was giving to the Public Service Commission this week and there is nothing stagnant about them. Many come from the private sector and they are interested in obtaining results, FAST. I’m looking forward to hearing and especially seeing more from them soon.
  2. I think it’s safe to say that Web 2.0 has now officially passed the “buzz-word” stage in government communications and marketing departments. There are no more blank stares and/or surprised eyes when I mention things like Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc… during presentations. Most of our clients are aware of the rapidly evolving online landscape, if not through their own use, then through their kids use! It has finally come down to the “action” stage from more than just the early adopters. They want to act now and many are experimenting on their own. Try searching for “Canadian Government” in Facebook and see for yourself)
  3. Blogging by program managers and directors working for the government will soon (i.e. 2008) be very prevalent. This is not to be confused with the one-way PR “bullshit” that often comes out in press releases, or one-way static HTML senior executive web sites with the word “BLOG” written on them as a title and fake entries sounding like they came out of a constipated robot.
  4. Monthly social media community gatherings are popping up in both large and small cities all over the world. For those interested, here in Ottawa we have a meetup group called “Third Tuesday“. The largest social media gathering is still PodCamp Boston (in it’s second year), which has spawned scaled down PodCamp’s all over the world. People are genuinely interested in sharing, collaborating and learning this evolving field together. My prediction is that these general social media conferences/meetings will soon branch off into industry specific groups with very specific shared goals.
  5. Finally, interesting articles and reports are coming in from all angles. Here’s some that you can download from my FTP:

Some humour to close off…

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