Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by LT Anthony Migliorini, U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs, and Ms. Rebecca Day, Attorney Advisor, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Regulations and Administrative Law.
The Coast Guard’s first foray into social media came with the development of a YouTube channel in February 2007. ADM Thad Allen, then-Commandant of the Coast Guard, debuted his official blog in September 2008. The Coast Guard also started accounts on Facebook and on the photo-sharing website Flickr in September 2008.
RDML James Watson, then-Director of Prevention Policy, started using a video blog to inform the public of the importance of the Coast Guard’s role in the global maritime transportation system. Headquarters staff have utilized wiki technology to collaborate real-time with field personnel on policy changes. Most recently, the Coast Guard established an internal collaborative tool, CGPortal, which incorporates wikis and blogs for improved knowledge management within the Coast Guard.
Many field units have also begun to utilize social media tools. Deployed cutters are staying connected with families and friends through Facebook and blogs. District public affairs staffs are fielding questions and informing media outlets about Coast Guard activities through Twitter updates.
Social Media in Rulemaking
In light of the Coast Guard’s success using social media in other missions, it is exploring how social media tools might become useful in the regulatory context. The use of social media tools—particularly blogs, wikis, and webcasts—could enhance public participation before and during rulemaking.
The use of blogs and wikis could help the Coast Guard improve public access to rulemaking documents by making those documents more easily detected by search engines, allowing the public to provide direct input into draft documents. Using live webcasts could make public meetings more accessible to the public and more cost-effective for the Coast Guard. Social media tools could also lower barriers to commenting and idea-sharing; dialogue conducted using social media tools could refine and improve the ideas eventually submitted for rulemaking.
In Part 2 we will explore how using social media tools presents challenges to the rulemaking process.
For more information:
Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/spring2010.
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