Monday, December 08, 2008

Local Government 2.0 - Low-Hanging Fruit

There are so many community building apps available today, it's possible to tailor a 2.0 solution or toolbox for just about any set of government problems and level of Web skills. So, here's my first pitch for a local government, all of which can be implemented at little cost and with little technical know-how:

1) Problem: Increasing the reach and buy-in for emergency readiness programs. Government 2.0 solution: Twitter EMS feed, with periodic manual updates. The handle would encourage users to enable SMS alerts, and would send out periodic tips and news, and supplement traditional sirens and radio emergency broadcasts. Model: @readydotgov Tool:

2) Problem: Desire to engage, but too many e-mails and phone calls for officials to manage effectively. Government 2.0 Solution: A social network for constituents to voice concerns, make suggestions and otherwise interact. Use of real names and zip codes discourages trolls and advances individual buy-in and protection of the community. Users can promote topics of most interest/urgency, and also answer each others' concerns and questions. Officials step in for harder questions or problems requiring legislative/administrative action. Model: Tool:

3) Problem: Lack of citizen participation in law-making; policies heavily weighted in favor of professional interest groups and lobbyists. Government 2.0 Solution: Open-wiki lawmaking, with the community rewriting and voting on in-progress legislation, and any lobbyist input clearly marked. Example: No Blank Check Letter Tool:


  1. Easy as 1, 2, 3. The cost issue is the one I'm dealing with today. I spent an hour with the IS Director here, and he is with us in the plan if we can do it for zero $. He's stretched on people and $. I also spent an hour with our past City Administrator and he wants it now! The current Administrator is lukewarm and I know I won't get a dime from him for the project. So, it looks like volunteers and free software if anything at all. But the IS Director did mention his contingency fund....... :) Great post - Go baby Go!

  2. Look at you taking the bull by the horn! I like the ideas that you have presented here. Keep it up and keep em coming!

  3. In driving USDA/FSIS communications which are often involved in emergency preparedness and response, I fully spoort a rapid response tool such as Twitter. It can be frustrating when working in a multi-Agency response format which can, at times, be cumbersome in getting out the word. Brief Tweets to a broad audience would be great.