The Alberta government has taken the bold step into social media. It launched a public blog a few weeks ago spotlighting government initiatives and inviting public discussion on important topics. Three authors have been hired to run it.
A public blog can be nerve wracking for many companies who worry about negative comments, consumer confidence and brand identity. But for a government, this must be terrifying. There is the whole political element that leaves ministers fair game on their own website. There are also bureaucratic approval processes that are not the most speedy to respond to comments. Then there is the question about how public servants can respond to negative political rants.
The site’s first comment reads “Hahahah – “foster” and “transparent” in the same sentence about this Tory government! We’re all doomed. Been reading the news much lately Jas? This government is the furthest thing from transparent, especially when it comes to “foster” care. This blog is just another PR spinning tool. Open your eyes.”
Ouch. But I’m impressed that wasn’t deleted by the authors. Appears they are going to let the good, the bad and the ugly stay.
I also noticed at least one of the authors is doing blog searches and responding. David Sands was the first commenter on a negative blog entry about tar sands on PRWatch.
This is fantastic. Two-way communications should be the cornerstone of the political process. Going online shows that Alberta is willing to look past the risks to get the benefits of Web 2.0. Congratulations.