Many government agencies have ventured onto Facebook and Twitter in an effort to better reach the citizens they serve. But not as many have combined those kinds of communication channels into a single strategy that aims to increase the usage of social networking across the enterprise -- that's the direction being pursued by the New York State Office for Technology.

On June 5, the office announced Empire 2.0, a strategy to encourage state agencies to use "Web 2.0, new media, and social collaborative tools and technologies" to improve communication and services, and facilitate transparency and openness in government.

The Office for Technology is leading the way. Since May it has launched its own Facebook and Twitter accounts, a wiki for developing IT policy and strategy, and crowdsourcing Web page that collects pubic comments and ideas for future projects.

Angela Liotta, acting public information officer of the Office for Technology, said Friday the office plans to reach out to the public for policy and project ideas -- some of those people might happen to be experts. If an idea is a good fit, then the agency could try to implement it.

At a portal called New York State Tech Talk, the public can share ideas and vote up or down on ideas that have already been submitted. For a starting point, state Deputy CIO Rico Singleton wrote in: "What if we could utilize stimulus dollars to light fiber along the [New York State] Thruway. Imagine the increased economic development opportunities by expanding high-speed access to the towns along the thruway.

"The launch of Empire 2.0 to expand the use of new media and Web 2.0 technologies holds exciting promise," said state Health Commissioner Richard Daines, in a news release. "Various means of social media networking has enabled our department to relay important health messages, such as smoking cessation and obesity prevention to tens of thousands of New Yorkers. Through this new strategy, we look forward to expanding our efforts to include even more personalized and interactive means of reaching as many of our citizens as possible."

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor