FCO is web 2.Go

Its already been ‘exclusively revealed’ elsewhere, and even trailed in the national press. Now some of the ‘exciting stuff’ I alluded to the other day has gone live: the Foreign Office’s multi-channel social media initiative.

Combining multiple blogs, a Youtube channel and a Flickr account, the FCO has gone full steam ahead embracing social media tools for a different kind of online engagement, particularly for government.

Of course it helps that they have an enlightened and experience secretary of state to help blaze the trail, but whats interesting about this iteration is that they have depersonalised the initiative somewhat and made it more collegiate. Instead of just one blogger (though no doubt David Miliband will be the focal point) they’ve recruited six from right across the organisation: politicians, diplomats and officials (who said civil servants cannot blog?….). My guess is they’ve learnt the lessons of the foreign secretary’s previous departments: when you lose your blogger, you lose your blog.

The integration of Youtube and Flickr also looks good too. I understand that all six bloggers have been kitted out with gear to allow them to record, edit and upload as seamlessly as possible. I’m also glad to see that they’ve enabled comments on the Youtube and Flickr accounts, something that the Number 10 effort has not enabled.

All in all, it a pretty neat execution, it will be interesting to see what they do next (I have no idea, just guessing….).

  1. The blog looks really interesting Jeremy. One of our Perm Secs has a blog for internal use but like many others, is a bit unsure how to use it properly. I think this could prove to be a useful demo of how a blog should operate!

  2. Just read the first set of negative comments, one reads: “Just to echo my fellow commenter above, I wonder if you would be so good as to clarify the setup and running costs of this blog?”

    This is what Government is up against. We get slatted for not moving with the times but when we do…!

  3. Good to see J. Only bit I have problems with is your final sentence: “interesting to see what THEY…” The really interesting thing is that this ‘Government’ conversation is happening across the Live Web outside government. It’s not for ‘Them’ to lead but to modestly earn their right to join in. The lead is being taken by mothers having conversations on parenting Blogs, teachers on teacher networks, kids… og everywhere. Government needs to get out where people are and ask for permission to join in and then contribute where they can add value. People aren’t going to come to Whitehall, tug their forelocks and ask if it’s OK to contribute. Brave souls like you know this. The problem comes in that your vision is being translated into ‘new government websites’ rather than new government spaces and contributions.

  4. Couldn’t agree more Paul and my point is not that they are going to continue creating places and hope the public turn up but instead extend their work into existing spaces and conversations. The last thing any of us want is a whole new generation of government websites – especially if we have to rationalise them all again a few years down the line.

  1. October 1st, 2007

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