State to start social network for employees only

Network to operate behind a secure firewall to facilitate info sharing

The State Department's e-diplomacy office is preparing to roll out a new internal social networking site called Corridor, intended for departmental employees, according to several online reports.

The department’s Information Resource Management Bureau’s Office of eDiplomacy is in charge of the Corridor network, which is “quietly moving out of beta and into open enrollment,” according to a blog post dated April 19 by Gadi Ben-Yehuda, social media director for the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Corridor has been built on a open-source WordPress platform, which is operating behind a secure firewall, Ben-Yehuda wrote. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, it will allow users to create profiles and share information. Employees voted on the name, Corridor, because it calls to mind the informal discussions held in the office corridors.

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He described the internal transparency as critical to fostering a "need-to-share" environment. “While it is totally closed to everyone outside the firewall, it is completely open to everyone within it. Both of those components may prove critical to its success,” he added.

“When many eyes are on a document, when many minds are on a problem, errors tend to decrease and chances for success rise. Corridor's openness enhances the value of all the activities that transpire within it,” Ben-Yehuda wrote.

A Gov 2.0 blogger, John Moore, recently interviewed Richard Boly, director of the e-diplomacy office, about Corridor.

As of March 10, the project was in an “early beta stage with about 250 customers,” Moore wrote in a blog entry at the Government In the Lab website.

“Corridor will ensure that skills, work history, your Corridor Reputation, are available at a glance, helping this very large organization [become] more efficient,” Moore wrote.

A State Department official declined to comment April 22, saying he needed to get clearance to do an interview on the project. Information was not immediately available from other departmental officials.

A year ago, Boly confirmed that the department was working on an internal social network project, then named Statebook.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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