Serving up a delicious amount of information

Thursday - 10/30/2008, 6:19pm EDT

By Dorothy Ramienski
Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio

There are a number of agency blogs, yet only a handful of government officials host public blogs.

Linda Cureton is chief information officer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and one of a small number of federal managers who blogs.

She started her blog back in May and recently wrote a post about why she blogs.

On Thursday's Daily Debrief, she explained how she "serves man" to hosts Christopher Dorobek and Amy Morris.

When I struggled with what it was going to be about I decided, well, it's going to be all about me. . . . One of the challenges [of] being a leader at the Goddard Space Flight Center is -- I believe that a quality that a leader has is that a person gets to know her and a lot of my colleagues at Goddard have been here for a long time and many people already know them -- and I was a relative newcomer. Right now, I'll be here three years come February -- so, I said, "Well maybe I can get people to know me as a leader, and then if they know me better as a leader, that might improve my follower-ship."

Cureton didn't come up with the idea to blog completely on her own. She says a colleague planted the seed in 2007.

It first came to me a year ago this month, actually. I was at [a symposium] . . . and I met up with a colleague who I always see down at that conference -- and he's got this knack for knowing what the newest thing is. So, he said, "This Web 2.0 stuff is really great. You should try it." . . . So I promised him I'd do it, except it went from October to May, when I actually got around to it.

One of the reasons for the delay had to do with the difficulty of the task, Cureton says.

The first thing I had to do was decide what I wanted it to be about . . . because the blogs that I look at, sometimes I wonder why people look at it -- is this interesting or boring? I didn't want to be boring because I decided it was going to be public . . . so that made me put some extra thought into the transparency about me that that would provide.

Besides making her blog interesting to readers, Cureton does have concerns when it comes to transparency, as well.

My natural personality is -- I'm very introverted and quiet. . . . I don't want to reveal things about myself, yet I find that that is a limitation as a leader. So, I decided these are the things that I want people know. I want people to know what I'm thinking -- what the real me is like. . . . Doing that was a little scary and there's a lot of stage fright associated with that for me, personally, but you get over it.

So, how does the blog help Cureton serve NASA's customers?

It helps me communicate, because communication is one of the keys, I think, in customer service and leadership. I will pick an issue that is relevant to my customers and writing the blog and taking the time to do that helps me focus on whatever those issues are.

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On the Web:

NASA - Goddard CIO Blog

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