Government goes the way of the blog

A new Web site from the General Services Administration is showcasing federal agencies' launch into the blogosphere.

The new site on the USA.gov portal provides links to archived and active Web logs from agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

'What blogs are really about are engaging the public with the government,' said Bev Godwin, director of USA.gov. 'There are people that read blogs more than they go to Web pages and so it's a way to get your information out whether it's about safety or [the] Library of Congress or anything else into the blog community.'

Blogs have become increasingly popular among federal agencies as they try to bolster their online presence and become more user-friendly. Many of the blogs featured on GSA's new Web site are hosted by senior agency executives and address some of the more pressing challenges agencies face.

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services is finishing up hosting a five-week blog focused on preparing for a potential flu pandemic. The blog, which runs from May 22 to June 27, features dialogue among business, community, faith and health industry leaders, and is meant to foster collaboration that will spur ideas on how to best prepare for a crisis.

CDC's National Center for Health marketing has been using a blog called 'Health Marketing Musings' as a way to discuss strategies for communicating health information and conducting communications research.

Although using blogs can benefit agencies, GSA also warns that agencies need to address the time, legal and confidentiality challenges presented by starting and maintaining a blog.

Ben Bain writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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