Earlier this week I brokered a conversation between two people I knew would hit it off. Pam Broviak is an online publisher, Director of Public Works for LaSalle, Illinois and a leading thinker about Government 2.0 at the local level. She put together a few months ago a group called MuniGov 2.0, which already boasts an impressive membership list: https://sites.google.com/site/munigov20/Home
Zach Stabenow is co-founder of GovDelivery, a company (and client) that automates, personalizes and delivers digital communications solely for public sector clients. GovDelivery has government customers large and small, from agencies like DHS and DoJ to cities like Ann Arbor, Charlotte and Palo Alto. Zach focuses on state and local for GovDelivery, and in fact knew a good number of MuniGov 2.0 members.
Both Pam and Zach agreed some kind of central repository of best 2.0 practices at the local level is needed, and in fact that is what Pam hopes her group becomes. Pam and MuniGov partner Bill Greeves have started a Muni group on GovLoop, but this group (an excellent resource!) is more federally focused. Both Pam and Zach report a lot more interest and willingness to learn about 2.0 tools at local levels, especially transit authorities. Today the interest comes from inside government departments, not so much from elected officials.
Pam talked about how Government 2.0 can seem a little intimidating when someone is just starting out. Zach said what often helps there is GovDelivery’s multi-tenant SaaS platform, which allows government clients to just worry about the message, not the technology. GovDelivery has just added the ability to support tag clouds, blog management and cross-agency promotion of content to the platform, making adoption very easy for clients.
Pam shared a great Twitter story that struck me as innovative and simple at the same time. There was a major construction project in the city of LaSalle that was causing traffic congestion in a particular housing subdivision. To keep the residents as informed as possible, Pam started a Twitter stream with constant construction updates of project progress. Eventually even the contractor and the local paper were following the stream. So simple, yet how many departments of public works would think to do it?
If you’ve got information to share on 2.0 efforts at the local level, drop a comment or consider joining Pam’s group.