Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spell TSA for Me

The Transportation Security Administration has apparently become the newest federal agency to open an official government-sanctioned weblog and now follows the lead of Health and Human Services and the State Department in the government's social media efforts. Although obviously far behind more Internet-savvy countries like Britain, it seems like the U.S. government may be finally realizing that a blog needs to do more than merely counter criticism or issue press releases.

In Shoes, Laptops, Liquids, Blogs, Ian Bogost describes how the site humanizes its staff bloggers and allows some caustic comments from readers to get past moderation in the spirit of constructive criticism. The masthead seems to encourage a participatory culture with its slogan "Terrorists Evolve. Threats Evolve. Security Must Stay Ahead. You Play A Part." Recent items, such as HOORAY BLOGGERS!, which credits their readership with publicizing a particularly onerous airport security drill, seem to celebrate an ethos of collective intelligence.

Evolution of Security also appears to want to engage in discourse with other prominent blogs and to take advantage of cross-linking. Its blogroll even includes anti-administration choices like Schneier on Security and ars technica, which you will find to the right of the text of this blog as well.

Nonetheless, I was surprised that the TSA blog made the proprietary Google-owned Blogger interface so prominent. Especially if one tries to leave a comment, the institutional branding of a government agency entirely disappears. (By comparison, the use of TypePad on the HHS director's blog is relatively subtle.)

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