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Government Adoption of Blogging

ArsTechnica author Yun Xie has an article this morning about US Department of Health and Human Services secretary Michael Leavitts blog, which is really interesting. The article talks about how Leavitt began blogging as an experiment, mostly to see if it would be an effective and efficient means of communicating with citizens and press about public policy. As Xie writes:

The blog is also useful as a shortcut in communications for reporters and staff members. Instead of repeating himself, he can simply ask people to look at his blog, where he lays out his thoughts on common areas of inquiry. …

Due to his positive experiences with blogging, Leavitt encourages his staff in using new media tools throughout HHS, especially for reaching the youth. This has lead to developments like a partnership with YouTube that is slated for the fall, where the public will become involved in the creative process for discussing health issues.

At a Kaiser Family Foundation-sponsored panel on the impact of blogging, panelist John McDonough (Senior Advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy) noted concern in regard to impoliteness running rampant among reader comments online. This is probably something that Leavitts moderated comment system can avoid, but is definitely a significant factor which discourages many from blogging who would potentially have something valuable to contribute- especially government officials. This is also an issue touched upon recently in Time magazine columnist Technoculture columnist Lev Grossman. Blog post on that forthcoming…

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