Thursday, December 11, 2008

Widgets Help Fight Crime!!!

The internet is changing the way people live their lives. Our behaviors are modifying as we adopt new online tools to get our work done and socialize with friends. Savvy organizations are recognizing these changes and are using the internet to keep up.

A great example of an organization which recognizes and is responding to these changes is the FBI.

One of the FBI's best known features is their Ten Most Wanted list. This list has the names and pictures the ten people most wanted by U.S. law enforcement officials. The objective of the list is to publicize these people in the hope that citizens might recognize someone on the list and tip the feds to the whereabouts of the fugitive.

Before the internet became as prevalent as it is today the Most Wanted list could be seen at the post office. This was a good strategy because many people would go to the post office and would see the notice. But people aren't using the post office as much as they used to. Where people used to send letters they now write emails. (According to the US Postal Service financial review from 2004 "E-commerce and e-mail are replacing personal correspondence and hard copy commercial transactions that formerly traveled as First-Class single-piece Mail".)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has responded to the changing times by launching a "Ten Most Wanted" widget.
The widget (seen to the left) offers the Most Wanted list as well as feeds for FBI news and stories. According to the FBI press release touting the launch the widget "includes easy to use share buttons so you can add it effortlessly to almost any website, including Facebook, MySpace, and other social media networking sites."

Alex Iskold writes on his blog ReadWriteWeb about using widgets to promote your brand, drive traffic and accomplish other product goals. In Washington digital media goals are often unrelated to sales. It's great to see FBI connecting with citizens via widgets so you can help them FIGHT CRIME!