Ssh! Secret new Directgov blog

Behold the power of referral logs! I’m not sure I’m supposed to know about the new Directgov ‘internal’ blog which was started last week by e-government veteran Paul Cronk. But since he linked to me, and since someone clicked on it, I now know about it. (Since it’s explicitly internal, I won’t link to it… unless Paul gives me the OK to do so?)

Its aim is to ‘communicate actions, changes and information around the content of Directgov’ – and of course, a blog is a great way to do so; good on them for trying this. My thanks to Paul for linking to me… but I think it’s a bit harsh to say the various external e-gov-centric blogs are ‘not comfortable reading… critical of Directgov’. On the rare occasion I am critical of it, I hope it’s constructive criticism. We all need a better Directgov; and I’m sure we’re all equally impatient about getting it.

5 thoughts on “Ssh! Secret new Directgov blog”

  1. Let’s get this right.
    The bods at Directgov have set up an ‘explicitly internal’ weblog. On the public WWW. Which you can freely access.
    Is this a belated April Fool’s joke????

  2. Simon
    I’m really unclear if the blog was ever public. As you’re not quoting, I’m assuming you’re quoting your mate’s description of it’s content.
    Since I know they’ve been reading my posts on directgovkids it’s amusing to think they’re ‘not helpful’, especially when I post that they’re doing better than other national governments.
    Actually, it’s disturbing that my, essentially, usability analysis is ‘not helpful’.
    But since directgov people seem to assume they know everything and a dialogue implies criticism I’m not surprised. Paranoia must be part of the job description.
    My biggest beef with directgov is not this sort of thing but their failure to leverage their position to help everyone else.
    Just working with Google to boost eGov PageRanks would do more to send traffic to online services, many times more, than the entire multimillion pound ‘branding’ mess they’re running. Their link campaign is a sad joke.
    Also, their marketing online is a mess. I will post an analysis of this soon.
    What annoys Council web workers like me about directgov is the arrogance when they quite clearly wasting vast amounts on vanity projects (directgov kids being one of them if it’s a one off and ends up neglected) rather than website basics which Tim’s Corner Shop website would know about.
    I recall a conversation with one of the guys running it eighteen months ago when I had to explain what ‘organic’ search results were and ‘keywords’. The ignorance was breathtaking but IME normal and – worse – acceptable. The environment in eGov’s walled garden encourages it. I won’t name him, but he wouldn’t have lasted one minute in a commercial environment. This was/is typical. As was the patronising attitude of ‘who are you to tell me anything? I’m an important person”.
    It’s no way to run a web site.
    When you see vast amounts wasted on exercises like ecitizen, when no conference on the horizon is discussing Google, how else to perceive them but as arrogant and disconnected?
    A public or even closed space where we can talk to them would be nice but totally counter to their instincts. Unlike corporations, they still haven’t a clue how to make use of criticism in order to improve.
    Am I wrong Simon?
    Paul Canning

  3. Paul: yes, it definitely was ‘public’. I’m not currently in government’s employ (in any way), and I could see it. I even captured the RSS feed, and stored it in my Bloglines account – which, helpfully, means it’s archived for all to see.
    The full text of the post I quoted is as follows.

    I haven’t come across many public-facing government-authored blogs but one that’s been around since February 2006 is run by the Northern Ireland E-Government Unit. It reports on the work of the Unit and reviews wider projects run by parts of the UK government, including Directgov.
    There is a much larger number of private blogs on e-government. These are crammed full of ideas on delivering government services and information from around the world. I’ve always been unclear whose role it is within Directgov to monitor these for inspiration or just to check up what they are saying about us.
    Blog roll:
    * egovblog – The future of government
    * Ideal Government – from Kable
    * Simon Dickson – new media consultant
    * Whitehall Webby – Jeremy Gould, civil servant “helping the Cabinet Office to assess the opportunities for government communications of social media”
    * Alan Mather – ex-head of EDT and dotP visionary
    * Paul Canning – web officer in local government
    These are not comfortable reading; most are quite critical of Directgov. But if nothing else they provide intelligence on what’s going on elsewhere.
    Are there other useful blogs you’ve come across?

    One day soon I’ll write the post on my feelings re Directgov, Paul, I promise…

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