The Feds and Social Media: EPA Goes Blogging

From the Who Knew? files: The Environmental Protection Agency has been hammering away at a group blog since April.

Don’t worry, it’s not the Bush hacks extolling the virtues of offshore drilling. Greenversations is written by a group of civil servants at the agency who explore greenish issues in a personal way. As they go, they often mention EPA services that can help you, the citizens of America, live a greener life.

Here’s Lina Younes, head of the agency’s multilingual communications office, on how the agency helped her fix her leaky toilet, in a manner of speaking.

I learned about the WaterSense program through EPA and found out that the new toilets with the high-efficiency WaterSense label were finally available in the Maryland area where we live. We studied various options. We considered the dual flush toilets that we’ve seen in Europe and more recently in EPA’s Potomac Yard green building, but we finally opted for single flush toilets that use 1.28 gallons per flush and we couldn’t be happier. They do the job and we’ve put a stop to those leaky toilets, finally.

The entries appear to be vetted by EPA staff. But I came across some useful stuff. In this entry about what to do with an old cell phone, I came a fairly cool federal publication on The Lifecycle of a Cellphone. It’s made for kids, but I learned a lot about the resource intensive manufacturing process of phones, and where the motes of deadly toxin are embedded.

The whole point of Greenversations is to “open up the agency to the public,” to digress into 2.0 communications vernacular, and “put a human face on the agency.” It appears to accomplish this. Yes, but will anyone read it? Hard to imagine someone engaged enough with environmental issues to read blogs would be attracted to this 2.0 public service announcement outlet, however well done.

Comments are moderated, as you might expect. But Greenversations has at least some tolerance for agitprop. A response to an EPA science writer’s introduction of a new regular blog item on environmental science:

Steve Holmer says:

July 23rd, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Rather ironic, but it is encouraging that EPA staff have not given up on science. However, reading today’s Washington Post about how Director Johnson repeatedly lied to Congress about the decision concerning the CA waiver doesn’t leave one feeling like EPA has yet turned the corner.

Looking forward to better times ahead,

Ah, yes, but now about the government has a database of people who have made comments critical of high-level federal officials! Is Mssr. Holmer safe from government harrassment, even under the provisions of the Patriot Act?

From the Frequent Questions page:

Why do you ask for my name and email address when I leave a comment? How do you protect my privacy?

Providing your name or email address is optional. We ask for your name so that it is easier to carry on a conversation, so we will publish it along with your comment. We ask for your email address so that we may contact you if necessary. We will not publish your email address.

To protect yourself, please don’t include information that identifies you in the body of your comment, such as email addresses or phone numbers. We don’t edit comments, so we won’t be able to publish comments containing such information.

Huh. I wonder of Mssr. Holmer included his real e-mail address. And if he did, whether he got a response “thanking” him for his “valuable comment.”

If any of this interests you, you can always follow Greenversations on Twitter.

But you knew that.

Explore posts in the same categories: blogging, government 2.0, media, PR, social media, Web 2.0

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One Comment on “The Feds and Social Media: EPA Goes Blogging”

  1. […] can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

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