3 Magic Words of Gov 2.0

I am currently a student at The Maxwell School at Syracuse University working towards my Masters in Public Administration. I use this blog to write about my experiences at Maxwell, especially related to social media use in the public sector. You can follow me on Twitter: @pjfiorenza and please feel free to leave some comments! http://pjfiorenza.wordpress.com/

Who would have thought that a conversation that began by me saying “Number 3 on the sides, finger length on top,” would turn into a discussion about Gov 2.0 and social media. At the heart of the conversation, was me discussing the three most important words EVER about Gov 2.0, transparency, participatory, collaborative.

I have found that it is always best to describe Gov 2.0 using those three magic words. Speaking with my barber, my thoughts were confirmed that the debate on social media used to be “should government be using social media,” has now turned to “how should government be using social media.” There is no question that local government agencies should be using social media and Gov 2.0 applications, but understanding the tools and how they can solve certain problems has become the key question.

He was quick to assert that government does not play a large role in his day to day life, and other than paying taxes, government leaves him alone. He was expressing concern that government would turn into a “big brother” and the tools really do not need to be developed. This relates back to one of my previous posts, when I spoke about contact points and digitizing the experience. Government is in your life everyday, every road you drive on, traffic light you look at, parking tickets you pay, buildings you walk in, lakes you swim in and the schools your kids attend. It’s everywhere. The point is that Gov 2.0 looks at these contact points between a citizen and the government and seeks to improve the experience for the citizen. Developing Gov 2.0 applications are critical to continue a healthy, vibrant and active citizenry.

Quick post tonight, I am sure other parts of my discussion with my barber will come up in the future. I am also thrilled to share with you that my classes start up tomorrow. Here is the list of what I am reading for my courses. I am only listing textbooks, but most of my reading is dominated by PDF’s and journal articles. I’ll post any interesting articles to Twitter to share. I previously posted my classes here.

  • Understanding Regression Analysis: An Introductory Guide
  • Public Program Evaluation
  • The One Minute Manager
  • An Elected Officials Guide to the New Governmental Financial Reporting Model
  • Urban Politics: Power in Metropolitan America
  • Fundraising for Social Change
  • Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising

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Jeff Ribeira

That’s pretty funny. You never know when or where interesting conversations will pop up.

It’s true though. Government is certainly ubiquitous, and permeates more of our daily life than we at times realize, but that doesn’t mean it has to turn into an Orwell novel.

Jay Johnson

Once you realize how much you interact with the government daily, its important to see that as something that can be improved rather than something to be scared of.

Darrel W. Cole

What your barber shares is what the general public shares. I was having this sort of conversation with my PR staff just yesterday as well, but more focused on the fact that in my experience people are tuned out unless what government does has a direct impact on them. In what I do, this comes in the form of a public infrastructure project, i.e., road construction, a future project, etc. People will generally say they want more roads, and more transit and such. However, when you ask those same people if they want these things if it means the road will pass 200 feet from their home, or that it will cost more money to provide more transit, their tune is much different. The best public engagement is getting to the people who are being impacted by a public project, before it occurs. I think for many in the general public, like the barber, it’s just hard to find the time or get engaged unless they can feel it themselves.

Barbara Moskowitz

During the Clinton Administration, a budget dispute caused the entire federal government to shut down except for essential services. I believe this went on for about two weeks, but I may be remembering the timeframe incorrectly. An unexpected benefit of that was that the American public became much more intimately familiar with how government intersects with their lives. Two small examples I remember are the fury of families from all over the country who found the Smithsonian museums closed and the people who didn’t get their Social Security checks. As Darrel observed, people need to “feel it themselves” — preferably without a shutdown.

Amy Ngo

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that Government Agencies don’t really market themselves like private companies do. Government agencies seem very passive when it comes to advertising the great things they are doing. It seems like the general public doesn’t know of or understand what all the different government agencies do and this is because unless you try to stay connected with government and actually research things it is more difficult to stay connected with government. A person has to make the effort themselves. And I really don’t think the general public makes a strong effort to do this. I think it is becoming easier to stay connected with the use of social media. My point is that Marketing the wonderful services that Governmental agencies provide is important in gaining support and awareness from the general public.