I spend a fair amount of time reading and thinking about how libraries can use technology to expand our range of services and our reach into the communities we serve. While the use of "web 2.0" technologies by libraries is growing, the topic is not without some controversy as we wrestle with how to balance the open-ness of the social web with our professional commitment to individual privacy, whether gaming or using social networking sites are appropriate uses for library computers, and even how to provide adequate bandwidth to support streaming video.
That's why I was interested to read about two very different situations and approaches regarding the use of technology by government entities.
First, this article from the Washington Post about the current state of the technology in the White House (thanks to librarian Michael Barb for sharing). While the description is shocking in its own right, its even more shocking when contrasted to the smart and aggressive use of web 2.0/social networking tools by the Obama campaign, to Obama's obvious reliance on technology-based communication as evidenced by the great Blackberry controversy, and to the Obama teams' obvious intent open up communication between the White House and citizens as evidenced by the new www.whitehouse.gov website and Office of Public Liaison.
If the Air Force with its security concerns, classified information, and military secrets is willing to empower everyone from the newest recruit to top brass to use You Tube, Twitter, and other social networking tools to communicate not just with family and friends but with the world at large you've got to wonder what the White House, or for that matter libraries, have been afraid of!
That said, discussions like this give me hope that the Air Force won't be alone in its efforts to use social technology tools to transform the way government communicates! (Thanks Michael Sauers at the Travelin' Librarian)