Maybe we should give up on this quest for a "government 2.0" or "open government." Maybe the people in senior positions are, well, just that - too "senior." Or maybe it's that most public servants just aren't that interested in being collaborative, transparent or participatory.
Of course, you know me well enough to understand that I don't espouse that view at all. But the title of this post is a paraphrase - possible an even more accurate labeling - of a blog post by Stephen Dale in which he asks "Are Civil Servants Made for Social Media?" Here are some excerpts from his thoughts:
"...thinking of the UK demographic of public sector employees, I think that majority of the decision makers fall into the Baby Boomer category (born 1940's to early '60's) than Generation X (born 1960s- 1970's), and it's these decision makers that are primarily responsible for blocking access to social media in their departments. They see no impact or consequence of blocking social media because they don't use it, either for work or personal use. Regrettably, they are limiting the opportunities for their departments to engage with the increasing number of citizens of all ages who are using social media, and risk creating departmental 'ghetos', isolated from the conversations that may have some direct relevance to them.
In addition to this generational issue, I also had an exchange with someone yesterday in which they said, "it is ungodly hard to move a collaborative project forward in gov - as Nick Charney has said, some people are wired to share. Most, I'm beginning to think, are not :( "
So between these two proposed issues - government employees nearing retirement who don't get (and don't want to get!) social media and an entrenched bureaucratic culture that's wired to hoard vs. wired to share information - are we fighting an uphill battle? Are the forces of inertia and stagnancy stronger than the momentum and velocity of the Gov 2.0/OpenGov movement such that people will grow tired and give up the fight?
I hope not...but I am seeing signs that some are growing weary.
What do you think? Where are you?