Creating a searchable directory of contact information for the employees of government agencies isn’t a new concept. Not so long ago, agency telephone directories were the tool of choice for finding colleagues.
Now, social networking sites facilitate internal or cross-agency searches for colleagues with expertise in particular subjects.
LinkedIn is one of the best known professional networking platforms. Others include Ning, Xing, Yammer and other sites detailed on this list. The Wall Street Journal wrote about social networking among professionals seeking experts for consultation or collaboration.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires staff to register professional data on entry, as part of new employee check-in procedures. The idea is to have access to the skillsets and knowledge of all employees. Without a database of skills — which may go far beyond one’s job title, pay grade or academic degrees — how can scientists find the best person for feedback, comment, brainstorming or information? The professional networking database is behind NRC’s firewall, but they do keep an open door for public participation.
* 2010 April 27 – Government Computer News – State Department social network in the works
* 2010 April 12 – GovTech – Facebook Style Site Coming Soon to the U.S. State Department
* 2010 April 8 – Information Week – State Department Building Facebook Style Site
Professional networking sites benefit constituencies and customers, as well as employee groups. The Scottish local government uses professional networks to enable communication with its customers and among public service sectors. Science Daily reports on the educational benefits of social and professional networking sites.