GSA began beta testing Go.USA.gov in September, and it now has about 1,000 users. (GO.USA.GOV)
The government this fall plans to launch a new Facebook-like social networking program for federal employees.
The site, called FedSpace, is intended to provide feds with more opportunities to communicate, collaborate and share information. FedSpace will allow feds to write blogs, create wikis and share files with one another. It will also have employee directories and a search feature.
Tiffany Smith, a State Department official detailed to the General Services Administration, said employees at small agencies often don't have enough opportunities to collaborate with colleagues. FedSpace could help fix that and connect employees across agency lines, Smith said at the Government Web and New Media Conference in Washington.
"Together, we can use FedSpace to improve business processes that already exist, build effective relationships and collaborations across the federal government, and ultimately drive innovation and discovery in the 21st century," Smith said.
This will not be the government's first experiment with social networking, but it is likely to be its biggest. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2008 launched A-Space, a collaborative social networking program for intelligence analysts. The intelligence community also created a Wikipedia-type program for analysts called Intellipedia in 2005.
The government is testing another new website that will enable federal users to shorten government website addresses. Bev Godwin, head of GSA's Center for New Media and Citizen Engagement, said the website will make it easier for agencies to point to websites using Twitter and other systems.
GSA began beta testing Go.USA.gov in September, and it now has about 1,000 users, Godwin said. It is similar to pages like tinyURL.com or bit.ly, and users can paste long Web addresses into the site and receive drastically shorter addresses that can easily fit into Twitter's 140-character limit.
Godwin said Go.USA.gov will be better than sites like tinyURL because the public trusts the credibility of pages with a .gov suffix and because the site will be permanent.
Only federal employees, contractors and military service members with .gov, .mil, .fed.us, or .si.edu addresses are able to use the site.