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the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
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by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
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GCN : July 2014
SOCIAL MEDIA Before the State Department s in- ternal social networking site, Cor- ridor, was launched three years ago, it wasn t easy for the agency s em- ployees to find particular skills or language expertise among their nearly 70,000 col- leagues. Instead, they called up who they thought could help them, said Tim Hayes, deputy division chief in the Office of eDiplomacy. State had an agencywide internal wiki called Diplopedia and a blogging platform called Communities@State. But it didn t have an online space where employees could search for expertise or collaborate and share information without public scru- tiny -- until Corridor. Today, the site has about 17,000 mem- bers and boasts more than 800 profes- sional and personal user groups behind State s sensitive but unclassified OpenNet network. And since it s a "deliberative fo- rum" where personnel share information informally, the site is not subject to open records laws. OpenNet lets employees from far-flung places search for people with specific ex- perience or skills, ask questions, do poll- ing and seek advice, among other things. And the eDiplomacy office, which oversees Corridor s development, will be adding new functionality as well as a mobile ver- sion later this year. Corridor, which Hayes described as a mix between Facebook and LinkedIn, took about two years to develop before it was officially launched in May 2011. While the agency considered using a proprietary solution, Hayes said it settled on using the open source WordPress plat- form, which it was already using for its on- line communities. Open source cuts down on cost and development time, but Hayes said it also allows the agency to take ad- vantage of constant improvements by the open-source community. The eDiplomacy office also decided to use the BuddyPress plugin for WordPress that has social-networking features, such as user profiles and groups. "Like many organizations, much of our information in the State Department was siloed, and we were trying to get away from that," Hayes said. "What we wanted was open and collaborative." According to Hayes, the biggest "sur- prise" was the popularity of professional and personal user groups, usually around a particular subject or office. He said the agency allowed personal groups because it s a better way for people to get to know one another like they would in the corri- dors of their offices. "We decided that if people ... collabo- rate and talk to one another about their personal interests then it ll allow them to do cross-boundary collaboration on the professional side as well," Hayes said. There s even a group for pet owners called DiploPets, in which State employ- ees, who travel around the world and re- locate to other countries, can ask questions or seek advice about pet policies and other issues. That s information they may not be able to find elsewhere, Hayes said. Hayes said the State Department added some new features such as recommend- ing user groups that might be of interest to members based on their tags and pro- files, similar to the way LinkedIn suggests groups of interests to its members. Before, Corridor users had to search or browse through groups to find one they wanted to join. Also, users can currently connect with one another by mutual consent, which the agency views as creating a tighter bond than just "following" someone on Twitter. Additionally, the agency is working on a mobile version of Corridor, which it plans to roll out later this year, Hayes said, who couldn t provide any more specific infor- mation. "As we look how the department is going toward mobile, we are preparing all of our tools to be mobile responsive," he said. • Corridor, the department's open source collaboration platform, blends features of Facebook and Linked In to foster employee interaction How State Department staff connect BY DIBYA SARKAR 26 GCN JULY 2014 • GCN.COM People who talk to one another about personal interests will do cross-boundary collaboration on the professional side.