Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the chill of government blogging

The chilling effect on government blogs -- either from agencies or by their employees -- just got colder: Federal Computer Week reports that the U.S. Department of the Interior's chief information officer has banned employees from reading blogs, and his quotes imply he disapproves of employees writing their own blogs, although the latter activity should be protected under their First Amendment rights. The article notes:
Interior banned blogs mostly because of fears of information leaks and the inability to know who is writing a particular blog.

“Blogs just scare the pants off me, particularly when Interior people want to launch blogs and take ownership of those types of things.” Tipton said. “We don't allow people to go to blogs unless we know where they are, who they are and what have you.”
The ban, prompted by a crackdown on employees looking at inappropriate websites on taxpayer time, including pornography, puzzles observers when it comes to blogs, which may contain content that's useful for the government to monitor -- or can serve as an effective communications tool to reach special audiences.

We've just completed this fall's "Blogging for Your Business" workshops at the National Press Club. Our advanced "part II" class allowed participants to build on and expand the blogs and skills they built that morning in part I, and we're looking forward to highlighting our participants' blogs once they're ready for prime time. A favorite comment: "Before the class, we knew we needed a blog, but didn't know how to do it or think it through. Now we're ready!" This time around, we worked with PR firms, trade associations, professional membership groups, journalists, publishers, a delivery service, an art gallery, government contractors, consultants and more to advance their blogging skills.

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