Are you mad as hell about social media access?

Some GovLoop users are

For a real picture of the tenuous acceptance of social media in agencies, consider this post on GovLoop from Benjamn Strong, director of marketing and public relations of the Coast Guard's automated mutual assistance vessel rescue system.

"I'm mad as hell and throwing down the gauntlet," Strong wrote Aug. 30. "I received a tweet from a co-worker that our federal agency is now blocking bit.ly among multiple other social tools."

Bit.ly is a free service that converts long Web site addresses into short ones. It's useful for Twitter, which severely limits total message length, and other social media situations where a long URL would be cumbersome.

Strong continued to detail other ways in which agencies block or limit the usefulness of social media tools: "Here is a short list of things I can't access at work. Flickr (to UPLOAD photos), Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite  (which the White House uses!) bit.ly, LinkedIn, and more are added every day. I can, however, access eBay and apparently some of my colleagues can access porn!"

Strong offered this assessment: "Have you noticed most of the hype and innovation in the new media/Gov 2.0 arena comes from industry -- not the [Senior Executive Service] or C-suite level in government?" he wrote. "That's because we suck at Gov 2.0!"

The post drew a rapid stream of responses, mostly supporting Strong. Dan Taylor, program manager at the Coast Guard's Logistics Information Management System, said that bit.ly had been restored.

"It would be wonderful if someone who was responsible for blocking it for a few days would take a few minutes to reply to this comment thread to explain what happened," he wrote. "I've heard from IT professionals in our organization who will do 'scream tests' with applications. They'll turn stuff off and see who screams. We should expect better."

The blocking could also have been inadvertent, he said.

Another user shared a slide deck for discussing social media with agency managers.

What has your experience been? Does your agency block useful tools? Are you subject to "scream tests"? Are there tools you could use but are not allowed to? Or are you able to use social media as freely as you need to? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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