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Back in high school, do you remember parents who tried to be hip by dressing like their kids? You wondered why the parents bothered, because they just looked silly.

A similar fad that has grown legs in government IT circles: public officials blogging. After all, the coveted Millennial generation reads blogs. Government technophiles promoting this may enjoy showing off how in touch they are with Web 2.0, but how in touch do they really look to the people blogging is supposed to attract?

Blogs that catch fire typically project a casual personality and feature provocative commentary. But getting that type of language past a public information office, whose job is to keep things uncontroversial, can be difficult. Consequently most public-official blogs tend to be extensions of press releases, said Seattle Chief Technology Officer Bill Schrier. He considers public-servant blogs that offer only scrubbed, official-sounding prose largely pointless.

"The best blogs are ones that carry a personal point of view, reveal what an elected official is thinking and have a little bit of personality and edge to them," Schrier said.

He writes a blog called Chief Seattle Geek.

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Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.