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Mark Drapeau’s Five Predictions for Gov2.0: Good Starting Point, But Not Far Enough

By Andrea Di Maio | December 16, 2009 | 2 Comments

web 2.0 in government

Mark Drapeau is always an interesting read and, as one of the “usual suspects” in the government 2.0 opinion-making space, he is thoughtful and insightful.

In a recent post he chose five predictions for government 2.0 in the 2010-2012 timeframe. A Gartner is in the (sometimes painful) process of issuing predictions, I sympathize with whoever sticks his or her neck out of the woods to state some bold predictions.

Here are his five predictions and my views

“Local governments as experiments – Increasingly some of the most innovative ideas are being independently developed in small communities”. AGREE

Indeed we have seen and will see the best from local authorities. Not because they are necessarily smarter or bolder, but because they are – by their nature – much closer to “real” communities. The issues they deal with are local in nature and touch citizens more directly: parks, waste collection, traffic, environment, safety. After all, the same applied to e-government, didn’t it? Some of the city or county portals have been consistently better, more compelling, often more utilized than their federal or national counterparts. On the other hand, I am not too sure that Federal government would learn much from what local pioneers do, as problems, proximity, size are quite different.

The rise of Citizen 2.0 – Just as governments are adopting new media communications, cloud computing mentalities, and social networking skills, so are the citizens they represent. DISAGREE

While Internet usage patterns are changing and people become more adept in configuring their web presence and how they access information, I am more skeptical that citizens will “just find a way to do it themselves”. Also in places, where the US, where Internet penetration is very high and people do use web 2.0 a lot, I doubt they will be compelled to make much effort to mash up data and build alternative views of what government does and is. They are certainly more likely to rely on intermediaries and activists who do it for them (as we discussed at length on the back of a previous post).

Mobile devices as primary devices – … soon mobile devices will be replaced and upgraded, and employees will increasingly demand advanced capabilities like access to social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, embedded cameras, and customized applications … AGREE

Like Mark, I also hear a lot of conversations about social media as if the only (or primary) access channel was a desktop connected to a government network. But mobile devices as well as personal desktops that employees use at home are going to be as impactful as those government-owned desktops.

Ubiquitous crude video content – … The business model of Demand Media, involves a specific algorithm that predicts highly specific questions people are likely to ask and then assigns freelancers to film crude videos as appropriate. People have a lot of questions about their government – could they in part be answered using Demand Media’s somewhat controversial techniques? … PARTLY AGREE

I do not know about Demand Media, but the whole area of understanding what questions people are likely to ask or, even better, those they have in mind but would not necessarily ask, is at the very basis of how to make gov 2.0 successful. This is connected to my point about the symmetry of government 2.0 and how governments should put at least as much attention on analyzing information that people share on social media as they put on making their data open.This is in line with a Gartner prediction that says that ‘By 2012, as many as one in five government processes will rely on crowdsourced data’. (client access required)

Always on-the-record – … more and more, politicians and government officials will always be on-the-record (thanks to the) multiplication of inquisitive citizens with mobile devices, wi-fi, and social networking know-how AGREE, and More

Definitely politicians – as well as other people who are in the public eye (such movie or sport stars) will be under watch much more than they’ve ever been. But in the 2012 timeframe I’m afraid we’ll see that each of us will have to give up a little bit or a little lot of privacy, for the same reasons. This is what I call, to somebody’s surprise and disagreement, the illusion of privacy.

There is however a sixth prediction that I was expecting to read, and that’s about the rise of employee 2.0. For some reason, most government professionals and researchers are relatively silent about this, with the notable exception of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce, that seems to be getting it right.

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  • On employee 2.0

    Many public employees in the U.S. are basically under a gag order.

    I have been reading some of the public record and social media policies for City and State governments since this these topics came up in a discussion I was participating in. The tendency seems to be to restrict any official social media communications to existing PR staffs. The policies lay out quite rigidly the types of activities that are the key focus. In many cases the prime focus is to broadcast information.

    Non public relations staff seem to fall under a different set of policies all together for many organizations. They tend to fall under network access policies. These policies are pretty strait forward in that they establish ways for organizations to discipline employees if the perception is that they are “wasting time.”

    So if the communication is official – only certain people are allowed (and it also falls under public records law). If the communication is personal you can be diciplined.

    Not exactly a rush to employee 2.0 under these policies.

  • Andrea,

    It’s not quite Gov 2.0, however Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company – formerly government owned – has release some definitive Employee 2.0 training material that they’re using internally at:

    It might provide you with some food for thought in the Gov 2.0 space.

    We’re certainly spreading around the knowledge of this approach in government here in Australia.

    My post about it, with further links to material, is here: