Personal blogging by Steph Gray, former digital agency founder and erstwhile bureaucrat

digitalgovuk: Tracking social media innovation in government

I  get asked from time to time for examples of how social media is being used in government, not just at DIUS but elsewhere. From mentions on Twitter or in blogs I follow, I can generally reel off two or three examples of X. But for a while I’ve wanted to have a more structured list of good examples of social media innovation by government – a bit like the Power of Information Review wiki does for online communities and mashups outside government.

So as a side project, I’ve knocked something together in the DIUS Sandbox.

digitalgovuk is primarily a tag. I’ve mentioned before why I think social bookmarking tools like Delicious are so useful. In this case, Delicious makes it possible to run a sort of collaborative database of URLs and browse and filter them as a set. Even better, it offers an RSS feed with up to 100 items for that tag, which you can do more or less interesting things with. I’ve added a slightly rough-and-ready Thumbshots site preview thumbnail to help illustrate the list a bit, along with Disqus-powered commenting and a UserVoice tab for feature suggestions and bug reports, plus one or two things to protect against spam tagging.

I’m hoping the tool will be able to help me (and potentially anyone) answer questions like:

The last point depends on the tool making the leap to become a truly ‘social’ list, and this is where your help is needed. If you know of a good use of social media by a government organisation with a public URL which isn’t on the list, please tag it in Delicious with ‘blog’ or ‘localauthority’ or whatever and add the special tag ‘digitalgovuk’. And if you’re involved in launching one yourself, tag it so that others subscribed to the RSS feed can hear about it.

If you have any feedback or suggestions, please let me know.

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12 comments on “digitalgovuk: Tracking social media innovation in government

  1. Dave Briggs says:

    Steph, this is awesome! Excellent work, and cool that this little bit of innovation and sharing is DIUS-branded.

    Will start tagging right away!

  2. Steph, this is genuinely brilliant: a great idea, and gorgeous execution. I’m adding my own contributions as I type this.

  3. […] digitalgovuk: examples of digital innovation in government – Fantastic index of UK government social media case studies, powered by delicious so anyone can tag more examples and have them appear. Thanks Steph. […]

  4. In terms of suggestions: have you raided existing lists already?

    – Dave’s Twitterverse and Public Sector Blogs list
    – Case studies on CiviWiki or Digital People @ COP
    – Digital Dialogues 1, 2, 3.

    Happy to help tag some stuff, have been tagging a few CLG bits already.

  5. Steph says:

    Thanks all, and for your tagging.

    @Simon: cheers, and for the nice write up.

    @Neil: thanks for the tips. I’ve been in and raided CivilWiki and shared those links at your suggestion and will work on the rest.

    I’ve just added a print stylesheet; a check to remove duplicate URLs tagged; enabled email subscription by email for updates; and tag-specific RSS feeds, e.g. if you only want to hear about new YouTube channels.

  6. Tim Davies says:

    Hey Steph

    This is a fantastic resource.

    I was struck by your comment over on Neil’s blog:

    “Incidentally, a nagging worry in my mind recently is that lists like my digitalgovuk actually imply that use of the tools is enough in itself to be innovative and engaging, when clearly that’s not right.”

    Two thoughts:

    >DigitalGovUK is a list of uses and approaches, over just a list of tools – which is great 🙂

    >Could DigitalGovUK provide a foundation for (either on the site itself, or something others should build using the RSS feed out of it) for structured exploration of Pro’s / Con’s / Business Case / Adoption Patterns for different tools…?

    Overall though this is a great way of bringing things together…

  7. […] site was created by Steph Gray from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills – he’s put together a great […]

  8. Vicky Hawkes says:


    We don’t yet have a delicious account (if we did, it would probably be aimed more at internal reflective practice) but Careers Scotland not only has a YouTube channel, we also have Facebook and Bebo applications (currently in their early stages)

  9. Steph says:

    Thanks for stopping by Vicky!

    I’ve added your nice examples to digitalgovuk – keep up the good work.

  10. Vicky Hawkes says:

    Thanks Steph. Look forwards to reading this blog and passing on some of its wisdom to colleagues.

  11. […] found inspiration in the Digitalgovuk site built Steph Gray and the social media team at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), who helped out by sharing the code. The youth offer […]

  12. I came across the Downingst YouTube channel a few weeks ago. I use it as an example of how YouTube channels can be used creatively.

    What I really like is the iteration between citizens and the PM in the channel’s “Ask the PM”-section.

    Any idea why this channel is not regularly updated with new Q&A’s?