Home / Opinion / The Five Best Government Blogs and The Six Reasons Why They Work

The Five Best Government Blogs and The Six Reasons Why They Work

rssWith the Obama Administration placing a high priority on the goal of transparency in the federal government these days, blogging has become a dynamic, useful tool for agency officials to communicate thoughts, opinions and information directly to the public.  High-ranking federal officials are taking to the web and fueling a communications trend that is rapidly expanding and here to stay.  Here are five of the blogs in government that everyone is – or will be – talking about:

ccoleman1)     Casey Coleman, Chief Information Officer of the General Services Administration may just have the best blog in the federal government.  Engaging, topical, thoughtful and professional, she describes “Around the Corner: Innovation in the Business of Government – A GSA Blog” as “…a place where we could challenge assumptions, explore something new, and discover something unknown.”  Though she only updates a couple of times a month usually, it is tough to find a post that does not shed deep insight into the government.

RobCarey2)     Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer Rob Carey was the first CIO to start a blog – a means of communicating directly with the people who need the open line most.  Carey blogged: “My intention with this blog is to open up a straightforward and public dialogue with DON personnel, and specifically the brave Sailors and Marines who are out on the front lines protecting this country, so that I can fully understand what their IT needs are. It is essential that they have what they need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.”  The “public dialogue” part is the kind of stuff the Obama administration loves to hear.

vkundra3)     Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra’s blog on the usaspending.gov’s IT Dashboard updates periodically, delivering in-depth information about key government initiatives like Data.gov in a personal engaging tone.  Not many government executives are able to work in Beatles references so easily.

fda4)     The FDA Transparency Blog is not attached to a particular individual at the agency, but it serves as a good example of how to get important information from the official – in this case Afia Asamoah, transparency initiative coordinator, and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., to the public in a single step.

lcureton5)     NASA Chief Information Officer Linda Cureton, maintains a blog that focuses on the art of the CIO, IT and other topics a high-ranking industry professional could provide valuable tips on.  The blog has an engaging and personal field and always provides an interesting read on a site with some stiff competition – try having your blog right next to an astronaut’s.


1)     Direct feedback from the public – On his blog, Carey always closes his posts by asking the readership for their feedback.  “What do you think?” and “Share your ideas for additional strategies” go a long way in engaging the public to think about what types of policymaking issues and decisions the office is faced with on a daily basis.  Granting the ability to comment on the blog posts also gives the impression that the official writing the blog – or at least someone close to them – values the public feedback and takes it into account when performing their job on a daily basis.

2)     No middle man required – Most of the time, to get an opinion from a high-ranking member of the government, one has to go an agency’s press office.  By the time the official’s message has reached the public it has changed hands numerous times – from the official to the press office to the press – it feels processed and worked over.  An agency’s message is like fresh fish; the quickest and most direct route to the consumer is best – and what route is more direct than from the desk of the official to the public via a blog?

3)     Official becomes the insider columnist – Just as the direct route is the best route, the direct source is the best source.  The ideas and opinions floated on federal officials’ blogs are a straight line to the most powerful minds in the government.  These bloggers are the deep background sources industry columnists crave.

4)     A living, breathing bio – With the high price placed on transparency, the blog is able to serve as something of an evolving bio.  The average citizen can glean more for a wealth of professional opinions than from three paragraphs worth of job titles and higher education degrees.

5)     Government officials are people, too – While some who keep tabs on tech trends in the government have been critical of some federal bloggers for straying off topic with more personal posts, this may not be a terrible idea.  It’s helpful to keep the public aware from time to time that the folks who call the shots in the government are like them in many respects.  Just keep the blog aimed at the issues relating to the agency.

6)     Engaging a new generation – The portion of the country that either blogs, is familiar with blogging, or knows how to find and read a blog has become the overwhelming majority over the past decade.  The medium is one that the general public is becoming increasingly comfortable with over time and will be a valuable asset to the government for years to come.  While engaging younger segments of the population is not and probably never will be an easy task for federal agencies, playing on their turf helps the process.

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  1. Where are the links to the blogs? I may be missing something, but I don’t see them.

  2. Tom
    The links are in the titles. They are hyperlinked.
    Great article!

  3. Quick note that your first bullet that the blogs provide public feedback does not apply to Vivek Kundra’s, where comments are not an option.

    Great list; I’d been aware of all of them except the Navy CIO.

  4. Is Blogging Tories affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada? No. Blogging Tories is a private organization that does not speak for or represent the Conservative Party of Canada in any official capacity. Members of the blogroll, however, can be associated with the party at any level from member to MP to leader. However, the organization itself is not associated with the party and does not represent its views.

  5. Beware the CEO Blog… or, in this case, the CIO Blog.

    These are only (mildly) interesting, if you happen to work for that person. (Good way to suck up)

    They are a lot of fluff and spin and aren’t-we-doing-a-wonderful-job verbiage. (If these people even write them?)

    Next time, list some blogs written by the *little people* in government. Thanks

  6. I agree, blogs are the future. People love to interact with one another.

  7. There are millions of bloggers worldwide, that is why even the Government must revolutionize in this type of communication. Blogs are interesting because of the openness it can bring by using the comments and open discussion. Blogs also means something that has fresh and regular contents from the blogger.

  8. Great article and information very useful. Without blogs where would the voice of the people of the world be heard, on a massive scale.unless ur buying a prime time spot on national television.

  9. Loved reading NASA Chief, Linda Cureton’s blog re Vice Admiral Grace Hopper. Great information!

  10. I have never done this and am not sure if this is the place but I am not a happy camper with the way our government is being run. There are certain things that must be regulated and laws provided that will halt the reckless use of money and the general handling of our provisions as a country.

    1. Halt immigration to a stand still. If you want to enter this country we will only allow a certain quota and those within the quota must have a sponsor in this country who will house them and has previously sought a gainful employment for this immigrant. They should not be provided with shelter and money from this nation to live here without contributing to the tax base.

    2. I want to clarify the word entitlement, I am certainly entitled to my social security – I paid dearly all my work life for it as well as medicare. I do live off the government – I paid for my benefits all my work life. I have never received benefits from anyone that I had not already contributed to. I feel the governmental officials who think that there is a surplus in the social security system and move it to the general fund should now find their way back to pay back what they have removed.

    I feel that all elected officials should be in the same social security system and medicare system that we are in. Why are they special and supreme? In the 25 or more years that I worked I never received the work breaks they receive and I am sure I read as many documents as they and made as many decisions as they do – we all have to understand they are now different than any of the work force. If we bring them to our level they may well understand how we are looking at it. Government is big business and I think they like it that way. Somebody paid to have them placed into that seat.

    3. Gasoline, a joke, a pity and very scarey – basically the country or should I say the world runs on fuel oil, gasoline. We can do nothing without it. We try to appease those who produce it to what avail. Huge profits and the working class is hurting so bad it is now a tragedy. As a leading country why aren’t we mass producing it ourselves or finding a new energy source with a strong infrastructure to support it. Why are gas stations allowed to raise prices at will in just a matter of hours. They should have restrictions on how they price out gasoline. This is a free country and we can shop around but watching these prices is distressing to all of us and the government who could have a handle on this is not even trying.

    4. Do not bail out any more big banks when they fail to adhere to legal and moral policies. There are those banks, who on their own, did not fall for the nonsense that the richer banks proceeded to avail themselves of and instead of fining or jailing those who created this world wide dilemma we bailed them out. I may not be able to see the overall big picture, mainly because government officials would not like that, but I know that none of the working class tax payers allowed this to happen. Guess what it was the government who deleted regulations and skipped over legalities and allowed so much of our strength to be taken away.

    There is so much more I have to say but I am not really sure I am in the right place for this discussion. If you would direct me to the right place I would vent my frustrations there. Please know that I am not alone and all my friends and relatives ask the same questions. Why?

    Janet Garofalo
    Citizen of the United State of America
    Searching for answers from a government that I question so very much — Why? —

  11. Number 3 on that list is a great read! Although a bit late thanks for this list!

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