Editorial: Defending CIO bloggers

We have been proponents of the new crop of collaboration tools, which are collectively referred to as Web 2.0. We believe these tools offer the government an opportunity to improve information sharing — an important but difficult task for agencies.

There are concerns about the use of Web 2.0 tools, and we want this publication and our Web site to be a platform to debate those concerns. In recent weeks, on FCW.com’s FCW Forum blog, there has been a lively exchange about some of the issues. Some of the comments are so valuable that we offer them in the following pages.

For example, participants asked several questions about the growing number of agency officials, including chief information officers, who are writing public blogs. Are these blog posts official or unofficial? Do Cabinet secretaries, CIOs or other executives write from their position as government officials? Or are they representing only their own opinions?

There are many issues emerging with the development of Web 2.0 collaboration tools. The security and privacy questions are the most significant.

Throughout this debate, we believe it is important to hold the same expectations for new technologies that we do for current practices. For example, CIOs and other government officials often speak at various events about their views on how an agency should do business. At those events, there can be hundreds of people in the audience, but no one raises red flags about whether a CIO is speaking officially or unofficially. We know those presentations are an essential part of leadership. CIOs’ blog entries should be viewed in much the same way.

We have praised the handful of CIOs who have tested the Web 2.0 waters, including the CIO bloggers. Those blogs, like many other collaborative technologies, offer unique ways to lead. Linda Cureton, CIO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who recently launched her own blog, said the role of the CIO is increasingly to help guide an agency through change and figure out how technological advances can help an agency accomplish its mission. To borrow her analogy, the train is coming down the track at an ever faster speed. The role of the CIO is to stay ahead of the train and guide the track.

Many of the concerns about collaboration tools are management issues. And, frankly, they are similar to those we confronted when employees got e-mail accounts and, earlier, telephones. Do we throw out the productivity gains that have come from e-mail because some people misuse that tool?

Finally, we don’t believe Web 2.0 collaboration tools will replace any of the existing processes. Instead, they will enhance them.

We love the ongoing debate. We think it is important to flesh out these issues. No tool is perfect, but too often, there is an assumption that the processes agencies use now are perfect. And we know that they aren’t.


The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.


  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group