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“Blogger Bob” Briefs DHS Secretary Napolitano On TSA’s Efforts To Reach Out To Flying Public

March 3rd, 2009 · 2 Comments

It may seem a little surprising that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano received one of her early transition briefings from someone named “Blogger Bob.” But considering the growing importance of social media in homeland security it makes a lot of sense.

“Blogger Bob” a.k.a. Bob Burns heads the Blog Team at the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA). His presentation to Napolitano focused on the TSA’s Public Engagement initiative. The briefing was videotaped and is available on the TSA’s YouTube page (and is imbedded below). I think it offers a nice little behind the scenes look at what the Secretary is hearing from her staff about the TSA’s attempts to communicate with the traveling public.

In the three-and-a-half minute video, Burns provides Napolitano some background on the agency’s public outreach, the most prominent of which is the TSA’s blog, Evolution of Security. Since it opened for business in January, 2008, the blog has had 642,000 distinct visitors and has received 17,000 comments or suggestions on rules and procedures. According to Burns, some of the feedback has resulted in positive improvements (establishing the Black Diamond lane for experienced travelers) and some haven’t (one person suggested TSA focus more on invisible supernatural terrorists and another asked the agency to ban nail clippers on flights so passengers don’t get hit with projectile clippings in the cabin). 

Burns says the TSA’s general philosophy is “the more they [the public] know, the smoother the whole process goes,” which is why it has been one of the most aggressive and creative government agencies in reaching out to the public, particularly through social media. His presentation is below:

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Tags: Department of Homeland Security

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 media news now // Apr 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    [...] to it. When they kvetched about long lines, the agency created a new express-lane program. (They don’t take all suggestions. One commenter asked TSA to focus more on invisible supernatural terrorists. Another suggested that [...]

  • 2 Why Transportation Security Administration’s Blog Is A Model For Blogging.Gov // Apr 13, 2009 at 9:33 am

    [...] the public. (As readers of this blog know, I agree. In fact, in his piece, Beam links to a post I wrote last month about TSA’s trailblazing social media effort.) Beam [...]

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