AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Government and Social Media

Posted by lisaw88 on June 10, 2011

Do you think Government and Private Sector employees take advantage of their internet access?

I was listening to WTOP a few weeks ago and they had a segment where they talked about how a lot of government and private sector agencies are blocking social media sites from their employees. Primarily, they magnified in on government employees because a lot of citizens feel that government employees are abusing the tax payers money (which pays their salary) because of all of the leisure time they have. But when you think about it, the government can block employees from the social media sites but will that put an end to leisure time spent at work? They still have access to their cell phones, ipads, and other electronic devices to occupy and prevent them from doing their work.

 Although there are some employees that need the internet in order to complete their day-to-day tasks, the internet “surfers” tend to mess all privileges up for employees across the board. Today, a lot of government officials are blocking everyone from all sites including access to personal e-mail accounts i.e. (Google, Yahoo, and AOL) and even online shopping sites. They are able to put words into a search filter and if they are in the search engine, the sites are blocked. In order to obtain access to social media sites, one would have to go through their agency’s IT Security department and provide a valid explanation as to why they need to obtain access to the site(s) and receive several approvals before it is granted.

 I think that blocking the social and shopping sites are not just for the prevention of leisure surfing but also for the protection of the government agency too. A lot of social media sites can pick up viruses or have explicit content that could attack the agency’s computer and hack into it. While the government may have top virus protectors and firewalls etc., there are always hackers that can obtain access. There are employees that can virally leak classified information to outsiders which could and would put the agency and federal government in harm’s way. Employees can even order items and have them sent to the government building in which they work, which could be harmful (explosives, guns, knives, etc.) Illegal activity within in the government can always come about. So to avoid all of those situations, the best way to use precaution is to block, block, block!!

On the other hand, I think that it is a contradiction for social media sites to be blocked from employees. A lot of the government agencies both state and federal have Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace accounts etc. This keeps the public abreast on the “happenings” of the agency. So why can’t the employees who actually work there see the updates? They do not always find out what is going on just because they work there.

 Do you think social media can hurt the government if they do not block their employees from obtaining access (including e-mail)?

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2 Responses to “Government and Social Media”

  1. the blog GovFresh announced that Google launched a YouTube site for the government.
    http://govfresh.com/2011/06/more-signs-of-trend-in-changing-dynamics-of-public-access-tv-google-launches-youtube-for-government/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  2. chadlymc said

    In my three weeks of experience interning for the U.S. House of Representatives, I have not found the time to login to a Social Media site, and I’m just an intern! Our office is SO busy and everyone works hard all day long. We do get one hour for lunch and during that personal time, people may tweet or go on Facebook, but not for very long. Not to mention, our Communications Director, yeah he goes on Facebook and Twitter daily. He has to, cause you know he does this weird thing-he communicates with our constituents and the world! Who’d have thunk? A government employee going online to work. This is what people do not understand. Communications Directors, Legislative Correspondents, Chiefs of Staff, etc. they all need access so that they can communicate with people. Blocking these sites is just ridiculous nonsense. I know there are some government offices where people may have more time open in their days, but I sure don’t see that at Congressman Murphy’s office. We’re there to serve the people of PA’s 18th district, and that’s what we do!

    Is it a waste of taxpayer dollars for us to communicate with our constituents via email, facebook, or twitter? What about our databases and constituent files which are all online? How am I to do research on a bill or event without access to the internet, the Library of Congress, Google, etc.? People need to realize that what they may think is “surfing” the internet may actually be very relevant work on an issue that is important to them. To those government employees who would abuse this privilege, and I’m sure there are those that do, shame on you.

    I say unblock, unblock, unblock! Use the monitoring devices on our computers (which are there behind every government computer) and determine who the culprits are and fire them. They can track everything we do and rightly they should. I don’t want anyone misusing my hard earned tax dollars either, but people need to understand that sites like these are becoming necessary to complete our jobs. The internet is a vital resource needed in the legislative process of our government.

    Shame on those who abuse this privilege and I believe their days are numbered. Kudos to those government employees who “work” at work and don’t abuse their privileges.

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