Would you want a gov-wide social network?

OK, so it’s hardly a shock for a survey from a UK-based ‘web 2.0’ company to conclude that UK public sector workers think ‘Government should buy local, go social’. But I don’t want to dismiss this piece of research from Huddle.net completely… particularly since hard numbers, no matter how dubious, always look good in a business case.
Huddle‘s survey of 202 local authority officials found a (very slim) majority to be ‘disappointed with lack of innovation in IT services’, and (just under) a third thinking ‘Government’s IT problems could be solved by buying from local, UK-based companies rather than multi-national conglomerates’. If anything, I’m surprised those numbers – particularly the latter one – are so low.
But I’m interested to see 31% would like to set up a social network for their own organisation, whilst 38% would support a government-wide social network. Again, to be fair – they would say that, wouldn’t they.
(And equally inevitably, I’m going to say ‘WordPress’: the planned BuddyPress theme/plugin collection looks fabulous, particularly these recent screenshots on the lead guy’s blog. However, the consensus from WordCamp the other week seemed to be that BuddyPress isn’t quite production-ready yet. See: I can be dispassionate about WordPress.)
I’ve got an account on Huddle, but I’ve never used it properly myself. It looks like a nice tool, not dissimilar to Basecamp but with a slightly more corporate, less startup kinda feel – and that’s probably not a bad thing. Apparently it’s been used by DCMS and John Lewis, but they aren’t on their website’s list of case studies, which remains a bit short on household names.

4 thoughts on “Would you want a gov-wide social network?”

  1. “See: I can be dispassionate about WordPress.”
    Erm, not quite! You can say something half critical, but there are other solutions that do similar things already – ELGG for example.
    As for the social networking ideas… I suspect the civil service takes the approach that networking is not working, and departments’ IT services would block access to the social network.

  2. I’d actually like to see the use of existing networks increase and managed better. Given the civil service network on facebook, multiple sharepoint deployments across government, Digital People on IdeA’s Communities of Practice site, the Government Communicators Network and a range of other bits and bobs (I can think of three departments using central desktop, huddle and basecamp), many of the tools are in place for us to network, share and collaborate without another site.
    Wouldn’t mind an enterprise version of twitter though.

  3. I have to say… I tried Elgg, and was initially quite excited by the concept, but just couldn’t get into it. Mind you, that was quite a while ago, and I see we’re due the 1.0 release in the next couple of weeks. Might be time to look again.

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