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A Christmas Wish List for Government 2.0

By Andrea Di Maio | December 24, 2009 | 3 Comments

web 2.0 in governmentsocial networks in government

It’s Christmas eve and kids (as well as many grown-ups) make their late wishes, hoping that Santa Claus will listen to them and make their dreams come true under their Christmas tree.

As I am busy with last-minute shopping and hours-long packing, I thought I’d share a few wishes for government 2.0, who is like a toddler, articulating his first words and moving his first steps. For sure he can become a really smart kid, but he needs to get the right toys for Santa to develop his real potential.

So here is my very personal wish list for government 2.0 around the world

  • Less vision and more execution. We have spent enough time telling other people and ourselves what government 2.0 is about. It is time to make it happen.
  • Less talking and more listening. Most of what we have seen so far, especially after the change of administration in the US, is the power of social media as a tool for government to talk at people, and much less as a tool to make government listen to people. It is time to engage governments on citizens’ turf and not the other way around.
  • Less institution and more employee. There has been enough effort on thinking about social media strategies for departments, agencies and entire jurisdictions. It is time to focus on how to empower employees to extract value for tools and networks.
  • Less open data and more open dialogue. Flooding people with public data makes sense only if this really leads to engaging them, rather than empowering the usual suspects (associations, activists, NGOs, etc). It is time to measure the total cost of ownership and the total value of opportunity of open government data.
  • Less barcamps and more bars. A few years ago I read a signpost in the north of Italy that said “Less Internet, more Cabernet”. I guess it referred to the risk that people stop socializing in physical places, such as pubs, because of the excessive time spent on the Internet. It is time for the debate on government 2.0 to move from barcamps and govcamps, to places where people already debate what they care about, be they Facebook groups or the soccer field where their kids are playing on a Sunday.

I do realize that some countries, like mine, have not yet given birth to government 2.0 and there is indeed a high risk of miscarriage. For them, my wish is that they realize soon enough that social networks won’t go away, and they’d better figure out soon how to deal with them, rather than being taken by surprise.

Merry Christmas to you all and your families.

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3 Comments

  • Nick Jones says:

    Sadly, like many toddlers, the infant Government 2.0 tends to spend more time playing with the wrapping paper than the presents.

  • Smart post. RTed it on Twitter for you.

  • Jed Sundwall says:

    Duly noted. We’ll see what USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov can do to get you what you want this year.