Many thanks to Colin “Canuckflack” McKay for organizing the Ottawa Government barcamp get-together last Friday. I really enjoyed getting to meet other Web 2.0 keeners from around town. Nice to be able to chat about some of the issues around social media and web comms for government types in an informal setting.
Important now is to keep momentum going!
One of the key venues to help with that will be the barcampOttawaGov mailing list. So as I checked in this morning, I noticed that a discussion is getting underway on public servants and their “unofficial” blogs. Specifically, to what extent should the unofficial government blogger make their management aware of what they are doing?
My take (hardly unique): discretion is the better part of valour. I’ve disclosed what I was doing from the very start of this blog. I don’t want to put management on the defensive by letting them find out about my little posts by accident or only if someone complains. I try make sure that my management won’t feel blindsided if someone has a problem with what I am doing.
And while I feel that it is key to keep the bosses in the loop, there’s something even more important: the tone and content of the blog itself. In my case, I try not to use the blog as a platform to vent or complain. I don’t get into specifics about situations or issues that I am confronting in my daily work. However, I will use those situations as a springboard to explore larger issues on my blog though – that is, when I’m not geeking out about the latest gadget or toy that I’ve discovered…
And I’m open about who I am and that this blog is not an official thing also. Given the terrain I want to cover here, anonymity doesn’t work for me.
By the way, here’s a great post from Neil Williams, a UK civil servant blogger, that gives some great pointers on personal blogging for government types. Sure it’s the UK, but the issues are largely the same – and they’re ahead of us over there, so we can (and should) learn from their experience.