While the pharmaceutical industry for the most part hand wrings over the regulatory and messaging hurdles that hobble their entry into social and digital media, the federal government is having no such reservations.
According to an article entitled "Feds and YouTube Close to Reaching a Deal to Post Video" at NextGov, a site dedicated to news about technology and the business of government, Google and the government have been in negotiations to remove some regulatory and legal obstacles that keep the federal government from entering YouTube in force. Some agencies, notably the CDC and the FDA have begun using YouTube, but USDA does not have a channel, nor do most agencies.
Adding YouTube to the communications menu of the federal government has a number of ramifications. First, one hopes that they do it right. CDC and FDA are examples of two agencies who are there, but their channels are irregular and the editorial framework is unclear. FDA, in particular, has a bunch of channels and it is difficult to know what will be posted where.
If these agencies don't hire firms to help them plan their effort, at the very least, there should be an intergovernmental mechanism for comparing and citing best practices. It won't do to just shove video onto YouTube. You still have to connect with your constituency and demonstrate relevance by connecting to other key influencers. There is much more to it than video and if agencies do not realize that, they may gain nothing in the end.
But in addition to getting it right, it also means that a great deal of video generated by the federal government is about to enter a very accessible venue and will be under public domain – we all own it – we can all use it. That could be interesting. People will be able to access and use video from the Library of Congress and the Department of State.
Speaking of the Department of State, Secretary Clinton, who the article cites as having approved a Web 2.0 presence, has outlined that international development is a key factor in the future of U.S. diplomacy. If state is going to begin using YouTube, those private agencies that are engaged in international development as well are hereby served with notice to get their YouTube presence in order before being surpassed by the behemoth of Uncle Sam.
Just think, if the federal government started running advertising on their Google sites, perhaps they could make some money!