In a new public service announcement from Code for America, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Biz Stone and Flickr/Hunch founder Caterina Fake pitch Code for America’s Fellows program, which aims to recruit developers and designers for public service-oriented development projects. The spot also features CfA Executive Director Jen Pahlka, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and CfA Board member Tim O’Reilly.
If youâ€™re a developer, designer, or product manager with a desire for public service, this is your opportunity to build the next generation of Gov 2.0 apps for city governments. By leveraging your unique skill set, you will bring improved access to information and government accountability to the local level, and you will change the way citizens and cities work together.
When I saw this article by Air Force General Craig McKinley (@ChiefNGB) about why he tweets, it got me thinking about military transparency. They are, after all, a huge part of the government — I should know, I grew up military, with a dad who’s still serving.
While I was visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, he was excited to show me a new recruiting video featuring some of his people, in a real-life scenario where they stop a piece of debris from colliding with a satellite. My dad doesn’t tweet, but the fact that he was excited about a video showing the real inner-workings of what we monitor in outer space suggested to me something beyond pride in his team. It dovetails with one of the reasons General McKinley gave for his tweeting habit:
â€œThe young men and women joining the service today don’t know what the world looked like before Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. They are transforming the way we do our work. As a leader, if I am not personally engaged in the communications evolution, then I cannot expect the organization to follow.â€
Considering that national defense is the largest recipient of our tax dollars, I say it’s about time we got a little transparency. I also like General McKinley’s take on what some would say are the security issues involved when social media comes so close to classified information. He says this type of interaction with the public is necessary, and not going anywhere, so he tells the tech folks: â€œFigure it out â€¦ Some of the brightest minds in the country are focused on securing our networks and lowering this risk. I am confident they have the skills to both empower users and protect critical systems and data.â€
Hopefully as change trickles down through the government, more people will begin identifying with McKinley’s school of thought. And maybe one day I’ll even see my dad on Twitter â€¦