My Peeps, not to be confused with marshmallows
Slowly, federal leaders are beginning to use Web 2.0 resources like blogs, wikis, discussion groups, and workflow
tools to foster collaboration across teams and improve the way agencies get
things done. But as public social platforms like
Facebook and Twitter present challenges for government entities that must comply with more stringent security regulations, they have sought out internal solutions.
One of the players addressing the emerging need for enterprise collaboration tools is Microsoft, which launched a new Gov 2.0 kit to add to the power of SharePoint for its federal customers. To find out what's under the hood, OhMyGov! talked with
Microsoft's collaboration architect, Dean Halstead. (Read the first part of our two-part series.)
Halstead told us that SharePoint has always had social features.
"We've gotten very positive feedback on SharePoint's My Site feature, a
personal page that allows users to manage their documents, calendar, and
contacts, while serving as a point of contact for other users to find
information about their colleagues' expertise and current projects," he said. The internal Facebook-like My Site has options like newsfeeds and
status updates that helps keep coworkers connected to one another.
According to Halstead, the real power is that "SharePoint's social tools integrate with
our MS Office applications and
online productivity tools, so users can use them in conjunction with programs
that they are already comfortable with."
But the consistent challenge associated with implementing
Web 2.0 tools is security.
agencies through the transition, Mircrosoft launched its Gov 2.0 Kit, which extends SharePoint's
social networking capabilities while ensuring sensitive data is
The Microsoft website
describes the Gov 2.0 kit as the next generation of tools that not only bring government transactions to the fingertips of
citizens, but also connect the relationships between and within the agencies and communities
The Gov 2.0 kit
brings enhancements to SharePoint including expanded internal collaboration and integration with
social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and an enhanced user experience
for both citizen and federal employees.
One example is the "My Peeps" template which allows users to securely
collaborate with colleagues in "government-only" mode, while also providing the option to tag
certain information for public sharing on sites like Twitter and Facebook, said Halstead.
auditing and "post-tracking" features are useful tools for federal leaders to
track the information posted to agency-approved social networking sites. They also
make sure governance policies are being followed along with the templates for
starting conversations with the public through blog comments, idea portals and
they released the kit as an open source application, because "we want feedback and
suggestions, and agencies are free to modify the solution themselves to suit
Upcoming features will include social network commenting and video podcasting.
Regardless of what you decide to
use, the next generation of government has a unique opportunity to embrace enterprise-ready Gov 2.0 technologies which are already proving their business
value in the private sector.
But for Gov 2.0
to be practical and realistic, it must also be interoperable and secure,
affordable and most importantly and ready for prime time.