Invitation to APS public servants : Beyond Twitter

One of the unfortunate things about Twitter, Facebook etc is that, rightly or wrongly, to those in the public sector unfamiliar with social media the technology is about people exchanging information that is not serious or purposeful. In short, they view social media through a sort of 'Days of our lives and Neighbours' lens.

Couple that with risk aversion (more like inventing risk in some cases) and a perceived lack of a means of purposeful collaboration or interaction and we have a recipe for uncertainty.

That's been nagging away at me for some time. And from conversations with others I am far from alone with these thoughts.

So to action. Have been checking out Presently. Essentially and enhanced form of micro-blogging for organisations. I have set up an account and have been exploring this with some members of my agencies Social Media Community. I have also asked some people from other agencies to test that out. Seems to work fine.

I do stress that this is an informal proof of concept trial. What I would like to do now is get a few more volunteers from other APS Agencies to join us and participate. This will test a little further.

If you would like to join this trial email me directly on and include your email domain - e.g.

The strength of this is that it offers a quick and secure way for public servants to connect via their desktop pc and mobile devices.

Here is a screen dump of the Social Media Community micro-blogging site.

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Comment by Michael Harris on July 29, 2010 at 3:19pm
I like the idea and the concept, but I disagree with it from a fundamentals perspective.

Too often Governments and their agencies go off on their own and create whole new services which replicate those which are already in existence, and have gained public acceptance. This is the 'build it and they will come' school of thought.

The target audience understand what Twitter is, and they're already there. Why create a whole new site and service to get microblogging communications out there? There's simply no logical or justifiable reason for it - beyond the old bullwark of control & accountability (and those arguments are moot anyway).

Like the idea, specially to quickly establish a behind-the-firewall playpen for networking amongst employees, but this really has no value outside of this market. No point creating a new playpen for customers when you're going to have to invest too much energy getting them there to make it of value.
Comment by James Dellow on July 6, 2010 at 10:31am
Lol. Don't worry, not suggesting you migrate to GovDex :-)
Comment by steve davies on July 5, 2010 at 11:56am
Thanks James. Lot's of choice. A question of what works for people and with the IT environments of various agencies. Yep. We need to extend the GovDex concept, but with up to date technology. User experience need to be the same as what people have outside the APS.
Comment by James Dellow on July 3, 2010 at 3:41pm
I think I spotted someone mentioning Status.Net? There are some really interesting little micro-communities out there based this open source microblogging software - like this one I mentioned the other day at my parliamentary library talk,

One of the really interesting features of Status.Net is OStatus which creates interoperability between microblogging networks.

I actually had Status.Net in mind while writing the Web 2.0 Toolkit part of Project 8 for the Gov 2.0 Taskforce. I thought at the time that AGIMO could host a public Status.Net server to be shared by all federal users as one of the possible extensions to the GovDex concept, which is what we are now starting to see as '' (currently a multi-user Wordpress environment). It would be great to see '' one day :-)

BTW as some people have mentioned, there are whole range of hosted microblogging tools like - e.g. Yammer, Social Cast. There is a big list of tools here. Also tools such as Elgg, Lotus Connections and may other social suites now offer microblogging via open APIs.
Comment by steve davies on June 29, 2010 at 2:42pm
Thanks for the heads up on that Jeff.
Comment by Jeff Evans on June 29, 2010 at 1:58pm
For what it's worth, people joining the trial should be aware the invitation email looks like spam to some mail servers...
Comment by steve davies on June 28, 2010 at 9:20pm
Hi Jess

Hope this answers your question.
Comment by Jess Nelson on June 28, 2010 at 2:34pm
Hi Steve. We use Yammer at CPSU. Looks like Presently is similar. Is that correct?
Comment by Christopher Hire on June 28, 2010 at 2:12pm
If the trial is open or becomes open to non APS, I am happy to provide feedback within this tool from a non-APS view.

Comment by steve davies on June 27, 2010 at 9:12am
So far a total of 18 people from the APS and some State/Territory Public Services have signed up to the trial. Back to work next week and will be informing the rest of our members that they now have a micro-blogging facility available to them.

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