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FCW Insider: Welcome to the first CIO blogger... maybe

Please welcome Robert Carey, the Navy Department CIO, as the newest person to join the ranks of bloggers... kind of.

The Navy CIO organization has recently launched its redesigned Web site and, I think it is one of the better agency Web sites I've seen. It is definitely one of the better Web sites for CIO organization.

As DON folks say in their announcement, content on the site gets tagged with key words so users can find related information easily, something like delicious. (If you don't know what social bookmarking, like delicious, is... go here.)

The Navy's Web site highlights the most requested information right on the opening page, and it has a tab for popular policies, which is great. The introduction says that they will be adding RSS feeds and podcasts, which will be great. (And I couldn't get the podcast to work, but... I'll try again later.)

There is also a item called "CIO Blog" in which Carey has his first post from Jan. 17:

Welcome. I see you have discovered our newly redesigned DON CIO web site. I hope that you find it easier to navigate to the information you require.

We are billing it as The DON IT Resource – and we mean it to be just that. We want this web site to be the first place DON personnel turn to for information on IT, be it the latest policy instruction, conference, news article or tool. I also hope you will use it to contact us to ask questions about or provide feedback on the many initiatives in which we are involved.

We have updated the look, feel, organization and underlying technology of the site to help you find the information you are looking for faster and discover related information you may not have been aware of. Look for additional rich media, RSS feeds and blogging soon as a multifaceted approach to getting information out to you no matter where you may be seated within the Department. Such vehicles also provide the opportunity for us to explain the thinking behind our policy decisions and give you the opportunity to weigh in.

During my tenure as DON CIO, my goal is to connect this policy office to the men and women at the tip of the spear who bravely defend this great nation of ours. We are here to support you but we need your feedback to ensure that we focus on the things that will help you do your job. You must be part of the conversation, and this web site is our conduit.

And then Carey invites people to offer their thoughts on the redesign.

I asked him why the DON CIO is going to blog.

The blog provides me an avenue to communicate to the Department's constituents is a simple straightforward way about issues facing us. Since we already have an "Ask the expert" feature on the site, a corollary will be to illicit feedback about the directions we are headed and initiate a "dialogue" with our Sailors, Marines, and civilians.  I am looking forward to the future dialogue. 

I really love the idea. My only recommendation is that if it is actually going to be a blog, it should be a blog. Blogs are unique. (And, to be honest, the formatting we use for theFCW Insider isn't quite right either.) A blog should be something that clearly runs over time with the most recent posts on the top and older ones down below. It looks like Carey's first "post" isn't so much a post as much as it is a message -- and they are very different. The implication with a blog, as Carey said, is that this is an open format. As Sun's Jonathan Schwartz, an avid blogger, said, the blog is the one place where he speaks to his customers, his employees, his shareholders, his board members, his competitors -- they are all on the same platform. And that is what makes it Web 2.0 -- the believe that all of us are smarter then each of us individually.

(Without getting into too much detail, the 1105 Government Information Group blogs actually treat posts essentially as stories, just like they are any other story, and that's not the point of a blog. In this case, the medium and the message are very closely linked.)

I'd also note that the Navy doesn't have a way for people to comment in a public way, and I think that is also an important component of blogs.

All of that being said, I give the Navy Department and Carey huge kudos for doing this. This may just be a introduction and that a true blog format will be posted later.

Regardless, I think Carey may very well be the first CIO to have a public blog. (GSA CIO Casey Coleman has a blog, but it is only available internally. Come on GSA -- tear down that wall!)

This Web 2.0 stuff can be very... well, scary. I mean, public comments!?! I already hear the pulse of many readers rising. But I think, in general, it's OK.

So... go Navy go!

And a bit of a spoiler... Carey is a 2008 Fed 100 winner. (Shhhh! Don't tell him! I haven't even told him yet! And he didn't win for his blog. Perhaps that could be a nomination for next year, depending on how the blog goes. We're not announcing the full list quite yet. We're still doing a few checks, but... Carey will definitely be there. He was a winner in 2006, so he definitely is one of the star CIOs. Anyway, there is a bit of a spoiler for you. We're hoping to post the full list early next month.)

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jan 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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