What Wikileaks really tells us about government and policy

If there was ever a question that information wants to be free, look no further than the Wikileaks story.

Governments — and especially those of us who work within them — haven’t fully identified the intersection of social connectivity and electronic data management.

The upper levels of government, foreign policy and national security keep secrets. By definition, that’s what many agencies do. As citizens, we must accept this fact. Secrets can keep peace. Secrets win wars. But secrets also can destroy trust, hide criminal acts, and threaten civil liberties.

The value of plain language in government communications

This is important. The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) are federal employees working to integrate simpler language into otherwise complicated legislation and policy.Based on the premise that the best content is the clearest content, the group provides a lot of resources on the value of plain language communications.

Especially of interest are the Before and After documents.

I’m currently writing about the role of social media in tearing down the corporate firewall between products, markets and customers, and I think plain language is a major component of that movement, as well. I’ll post the story as it’s available in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, discover the value of plain language by reading Beth Mazur’s May 2000 article for Technical Communication, Revisiting Plain Language.