Linda Cureton, chief information officer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, wrote in the Goddard CIO Blog late Friday that the center has launched Spacebook, an employee intranet that encourages group collaboration and social bookmarking. The new site mimics Facebook, except that only employees of Goddard can access it.
The new social network is expected to offer "the greatest value" to NASA: the ability to foster an environment of engagement and collaboration that makes each employee and the agency more effective, Cureton writes.
In January's issue of Government Executive, I wrote about how the space agency is transitioning its civilian and contractor workforces from the current Shuttle program to the new Constellation program, which involves taking Americans back to the moon and possibly to Mars and beyond. It was impressive to see that people issues, specifically succession planning, training and communication, are of utmost priority to NASA executives leading the transition. And it's for good reason: the biggest lesson learned from the 1972 transition from the Apollo human spaceflight program to the shuttle program, executives say, was the importance of engaging and communicating with employees.
We'll see if Spacebook takes off at the other NASA centers, such as Kennedy Space Center, which stands to be the most impacted by the transition to Constellation. Cureton says Kennedy and Ames Research Center are currently piloting Spacebook. It'll be interesting to see if and how NASA executives use the social network as another strategy to communicate with employees and usher the transition in.