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To Blog or Not to Blog

2008 July 29

About the author: Jeffrey Levy is the Greenversations Editor.

Yesterday, we observed completing a year of EPA blogging by asking whether you’ve been inspired or surprised, or learned anything from our blogs. As usual with our questions, we got some thought-provoking answers. I’d like to thank everyone who’s commented so far. We really do appreciate hearing your thoughts, both positive and negative. Without anyone criticizing, we lose the nudge to keep trying to improve.

The comment that started me writing this post was from “Seagul,” who asked how much time the blog takes, wondering whether it was a waste. I could spend some time developing an estimate of how much time we spend on the blog, but to what purpose? Even if it was only one hour a week, someone would still think it was wasteful. The good news is that we’re getting more efficient at managing the blog.

A more important point is that this blog is part of a much broader exploration of how best to use available tools to carry out our mission. Our regulatory, enforcement, and science staff continue with the important work they’ve been doing. Here in the communications area, we contribute primarily through education and outreach. Aside from the blog, we’re looking at podcasting, wikis, photo and video contests, etc. Admittedly, we’re a little slow compared to some of the private sector, but we’ll get there. And you’re helping us with your feedback.

Over the past year or so, we’ve launched a bunch of new things on our Web site. Have you seen our widgets? We’re looking at widgets as a way to get information to people who might never come to our Web site. The one that provides a daily environmental tip was seen 363,000 times in June, which is more than any single page on our site other than the home page. An example of new blog concepts is that last week, we launched Science Wednesday in the blog.

Reasonable people will always disagree as to whether a particular project is worthwhile. But rest assured, we’re looking at the least expensive, simplest way of doing all of them, to the point we won’t do a lot of stuff. Some of what we do try will work, and some won’t. That’s how it works when you try new things.

The upshot is, we’ll continue to learn and explore new options. And that, I think, isn’t a waste.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Lina-EPA permalink*
    July 29, 2008

    Well said. I think we have received many interesting responses. We’ll just learn from the experience and continue to make environmental information more readily available to the general public while leveraging technology.

  2. Marcus permalink
    July 31, 2008

    Make no mistake, this ain’t going away. A blog is a tool for communicating and collaborating (especially with a new generation that gets more and more of its information electronically). These are two things EPA can’t do enough of. It’s just a question of how best to use this tool to do that.

  3. gunky permalink
    August 14, 2008

    I work in another federal agency and just found your blog. Frankly, I’m astonished (and hopeful) that you can get away with it. I don’t think our opinions would be encouraged for public consumption in my agency.

  4. Roberto permalink
    October 3, 2008

    Jeffrey, your efforts are certainly more worthy of a higher status than “blandest environmental blog”. I for one support all that you do and appreciate your work.

  5. Steve Radick permalink
    December 23, 2008

    Jeffrey, just like with email and websites before, we’re soon going to reach the day where we’re not constantly being questioned on how much time we’re “wasting” on them. Websites and email are now just part of normal business, and blogs and other social media should join that group very soon. Ironically, it’s on traditional websites and email where we’re all now “wasting” all our time. Keep it up Jeffrey – there are plenty of supporters of your efforts, even if they don’t always comment directly.

  6. Jeffrey Levy permalink*
    December 23, 2008

    Thanks to everyone above. It’s an interesting time to be leading gov’t web efforts! I think 2009 is going to see some serious use of social media in ways never seen before in gov’t.

  7. Evi permalink
    June 7, 2011

    this blog is very simple but has PR so high, but I think it’s better to improve it

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