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Governments Dipping Toes into Blogging Puddle

Oh so cautiously some governments are testing blogging and other social media as a means of closer engagement with their constituencies.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office this week launched FCO Bloggers: Global Conversations, which features six bloggers ranging in seniority from an intern named Sarah Russell (with one post so far) to David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the UK (three posts and a couple of video clips in only two days!).

Miliband explains the purpose of FCO blog this way . . . "At the heart this is the idea that diplomats need to reach out beyond governments to talk to people – at home and around the world. I want to explain to you the decisions we are making and what we are trying to achieve. And I want to hear from you what you think about what we're doing, what we could do better, and how we can solve problems which affect us all, such as conflict, climate change and poverty."

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has also started a blog with a mandate "to make the activities and publications of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner more accessible to Canadians, and to increase contact between the Office and Canadians interested about privacy issues and legislation." Employees within the Office are contributing posts."

It will be interesting to watch how long these blogs last or how soon (if at all) they degenerate into caution and restraint, which could make them boring indeed. One other comment: Seems to me that government officials have at least as much to lose as corporations and other organizations by going out on a cyberspace limb. So why such continuing caution among so many private and non-profit sector organizations about diving in?

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