Buzz of the Week: Discussing Web 2.0 concerns using Web 2.0

As agencies look at using Web 2.0 tools, they run into all kinds of issues —  and some of the debates about those issues are happening in Web 2.0.

In recent weeks, the list of questions has grown. Do we want low-ranking government employees submitting and editing articles on a wiki? Should a government official blogging on a government Web site have to vet those posts with others throughout the organization? 

During the past few days, people have joined a fascinating debate on’s FCW Forum blog in which we asked the question: Web 2.0: Worth the risk?

A similar debate is occurring at conferences. At the 1105 Government Information Group’s Government Leadership Summit earlier this month, people raised questions about how to balance security and collaboration.

And at the Management of Change conference last week, the security question was debated: Isn’t it unsafe to publish all that information on a blog? Don’t the bad guys have access to it, too?
Some see Web 2.0 tools as high-tech time-wasters that should be banned altogether.

But more nuanced discussions are also happening.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

We don’t get to choose between black or white. Instead, leaders are constantly challenged to determine the right shade of gray.

Agencies wisely have not jumped into the deep end of the Web 2.0 pool. Instead, they are dipping their toes in the water. Thanks to their Web 2.0 test projects, we can discuss real problems rather than focusing on misperceptions about Web 2.0.


#2 You really like me!

Karen Evans was teary-eyed when she accepted the 2008 John J. Franke award at the Management of Change conference last week in Norfolk, Va.

Evans, finishing her final months as administrator for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, credited her staff with earning the award, presented by the American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council.

Evans, who said she plans to retire, also said she was “totally humbled” by the award.

Unlike some Hollywood stars, Evans’ acceptance speech suggested her humility and praise for her employees was genuine.

#3: Court un-moo-ved by livestock privacy
Whatever it is that you’re doing until the cows come home, be aware that information about where their home is remains public. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia halted the Agriculture Department’s efforts to add privacy protections to a database about livestock operations.

The department wants to protect certain information about the ownership and location of livestock operations, but freelance journalist Mary-Louise Zanoni, who had sought information through the Freedom of Information Act, filed suit to prevent it.

The court system will no doubt hear a lot of bull from lawyers on each side before the issue is resolved.

#4: Maybe it’s methane from cows in No. 3
The Environmental Protection Agency would create and maintain a greenhouse gas emissions registry under legislation in the Senate. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced the bill, even though it’s called the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008.

It would require EPA to create a federal greenhouse gas registry to collect data about emissions from facilities, corporations and other organizations. We’re this far into the global warming era, and we don’t have this already?

#5: We had nothing to do with Friday’s power outage in D.C.…
…but it’s an interesting coincidence that it happened just as we wer about to publish a feature article on continuity-of-operations plans. You’ll find that in this issue. Let us know if your agency was affected by the outage and how you handled it.


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