Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Future of Citizen Services

I m prone to idea flurries. Regularly, these idea flurries result in some kind of social media project. They ve often included a domain name, and, back before we called it social media, a blog. Some have been successful, like savecivicpark. Others, not so much, like enviroinvestors or traveltokyojapan.
In the last couple years, the idea flurries have begun to center on social sites like Facebook and, increasingly, Twitter. All of this to lead into a little project I kicked off this past weekend, citizensuite. What is it? Well, right now, it s a domain name and a Twitter account retweeting open data information. What it will be, I m not quite sure, either. But what it *wants* to be is a response to the services commoditization component of Gov 2.0. With OpenID reaching out to government, open API projects like Open311, and the increasingly mobile-yet-connected and borderless lifestyle of the middle class, we are quickly approaching an era of My.gov (hat tip to journalist Alexander Howard for that term). Imagine a near future where the central unit of government and business is not a state or municipality, not a corporation, but the individual or a decentralized coalition of individuals. That s not to say that the traditional institutions will disappear, but they will become increasingly less powerful. The idea behind citizensuite is that services and products need to be puzzle pieces that build a picture of civic life around those individuals and networks. That s what I was thinking about this weekend, that and that the browser is a prison.

- Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and producer of the Gov 2.0 podcast. Sometimes he has idea flurries.

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