This morning I noticed Google Reader was recommending a feed of from one of India's largest telecom service company - BSNL. This company is an example of a corporation being formed out of what was earlier a government department- though its business is to facilitate conversations, it certainly is not one known for having conversations with its own customers - you would know that if you have been a BSNL service subscriber yourself. Needless to say, I quickly added this feed to my list. What attracted me even more was that there were over 70 subscribers already - okay, not very high, but interesting. I had also noticed the term 'blog' on Indian Income Tax Department main website, as well as Police Blogs, and this whole phenomenon of Government Departments and Government Owned Companies moving towards 'conversation' appeared attractive enough to check out.
Cut to BSNL blog. It is actually a news feed, and not a full fledged blog with its own crisp URL (such as blog.bsnl.in) and does not allow you to talk back. There is nothing personal about the language, nor does the feed come in someone's name. Pretty much like the company is, in its real life. To compound the situation, only a short feed is allowed, so you see only headlines, you need to click if you want to read a story. In blogosphere, this phenomenon of short feed has given way to full feeds. As one heard so often in the B-School classroom - if you want to get your message across, make it easy for the target to do so.However, a good start, and one hopes things will get better progressively. A tip to the BSNL folks - blogs work well if you make posts around happenings and include some anecdotes, visuals, event details etc. Perhaps getting some teen age interns would bring in the blog thing. You can find the feed on BSNL main website, if you succeed in loading the page.
The Income Tax blog qualifies better. While the main income tax department site is extremely slow to load, the blog page is relatively better. It allows for interaction by comments. While the URL is not easy to remember, the blog allows for tax payers to raise questions on issues of common interest, and every post comes with a credit to an author, exactly as you would expect on a blog. The language of the posts is quite readable, despite taxation being generally considered difficult to understand - Someone is making a real effort here.
There are some Police Forces in India that have taken to blogging to connect with citizens. I mentioned about Barmer Police in an earlier post, and the Police Superintendent of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka is known to have an active blog too. Meanwhile, if you know about some other government entities blogging , do leave a comment. Let the conversation continue.