Friday, November 7, 2008

Is Barack Obama going to take the US Government Web 2.0?

Knowing what we know about President-Elect Obama's campaign methodology, what do you think the chances are that we're getting ready to see the Government go Web 2.0? Here are a couple of things that caught my eye that I think are worth thinking about. -- I just saw this yesterday and went to the site this morning. Getting ready to start a new venture? Create a web site. But isn't just brochure-ware. There are places to submit your email address, to provide suggestions, and to get engaged. Consider some of the Web 2.0 elements that they could add:
  • Dell uses's "Ideas" engine to enable their users to suggest ideas, vote on them, and shape the direction of products on services. Imagine the Ideas engine applied to government.
  • has ridden user-authored reviews to help drive their business far beyond many of their competitors. Imagine applying user-authored reviews to government.
  • Social networking and community used to be things that were assembled through physical activity on main street. During the era of radio, people gathered around radios and that shaped their relationship with the government. Imagine the social networking model applied to government.
Another aspect that's probably worth noting is related to transparency. While the Bush administration came into office with a cloak of secrecy over everything that they did, government wasn't always that way. Whether you call it "Sunlight" or something else, it's an aspect of government operations that have been AWOL for nearly eight years now. Now suppose that you're going to "Open-Source" the government? In order to do that, you have to expose the mechanisms so that everyone involved can participate.

One fundamental aspect of all of these elements is that they require community participation, customer participation, and real involvement. Ultimately -- as demonstrated during the election process -- Obama's ability to engage his customer base and get them to participate may wind up being the secret sauce in leveraging Web 2.0 technology to make transformational changes to the government.

I think that the possibilities look very interesting. What do you think?

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