The intent of this blog is to increase the acceptance and practice of Web 2.0 concepts in governance. I believe in a basic libertarian ideal of self-determination, but also in a strong central government to provide security and a baseline standard of living and health. Underpinning my political philosophy is a raging populist spirit.
I want to see people engaged in their government, paying attention to and demanding response from their elected representatives. Web 2.0 tools and the rapidly decreasing costs of communication and connecting is engendering one of the greatest shifts in our democracy in a generation. Central to this revolution is the “Citizen 2.0” (the term was recently used by my friend Andrea Baker in an opinion piece on social media and transparency in government, but still lacks a Wikipedia entry). The Citizen 2.0 is engaged with their government through media technologies that allow near instantaneous spread of news, and simple means to “crowdcast” a response to both officials and friends and neighbors. The Citizen 2.0 participates in their government from a position of knowledge and speed.
The tools of Web 2.0 will allow this revolution, but it is the job of we initiates to make this revolution work.
It is not enough for Web 2.0/Gov 2.0 enthusiasts to talk to each other and write in blogs and tech magazines. A good example of initiating the process in government is GovLoop.com, a social network for advancing 2.0 culture among local, state and federal employees. Government 2.0 will advance as these employees realize the incredible value of quick and cheap horizontal communication.
Commercial applications of 2.0 are also spreading quickly, due to the potential of the tech to make money by embedding products deeper into the collective consciousness and allowing brands and customers to interact on a more personal level.
The challenge I’m presently most cognizant of is spreading the Citizen 2.0 meme. This means taking the tools out of the chatterboxes and to the streets. It means teaching citizen activists how to engage their government with tools like Facebook campaigns, Twitter, niche social networks and blog campaigns. It means going from the activists to the everyday folks who find government inaccessible and hold to the fast-fading power of the adage, “Can’t fight City Hall.”
We can make government work for the people, and we must be willing to lead.