Yes, you’ve read it right. I met a client today in South East Asia who asked me this question after having attended a presentation by a small consulting firm that claims to have great experience on government 2.0. What one of the consultants told them was that they should – indeed – create a government version of Facebook.
My immediate reaction was to tell the client this was the silliest thing I had heard over the last several months. The only explanations I could give were (1) the consultant knew very little about what is going with government and web 2.0 or (2) the consultant was trying to make the client spend some money (with them) to build a Govbook. Whichever the reason, though, this shows how many self-named experts tend to sell the idea that governments have to build more rather than less web sites to reach out to their constituents.
I have to say that the client seemed smart enough to be quite dubious about what the consultant had proposed, and wanted to pick our views on that. There were about 20 of his colleagues in the room with him, and when I asked how many of them were Facebook users, the majority raised their hands. Then I asked them: “well, would you use a Govbook if there was one?” and they shake their heads and smiled, with one saying “why? if I have all my friends and colleagues in Facebook, what value would I ever get from Govbook?”.
I guess this was the best answer to that consultant: hope they give it to him in person.