Gov 2.0: What Does It Mean, Really?

This is a crosspost of dotgov.com
Gov 2.0 is the newest buzzword in government; a term referring to a whole group of new innovative things governments can do with the web. Lately, discussion has centered around what is Gov 2.0 is and whether the term should be even used, since most citizens don’t understand it.

First, the term Gov2.0 is not meant to be used by citizens, but rather an industry term to define a group of technologies and web-based e-government solutions.

But how does Gov 2.0 differ from e-government? And, how does it differ from Gov 1.0, if that, in fact, ever existed?

The 2.0 term refers to Web 2.0, a term that increased in popularity in 2004 and, according to Wikipedia, “is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web”

The most important difference was a paradigm shift from a read-only web to a read-and-write web illustrated in the following diagram:

A diagram illustrating the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 – explained further in the main text (From: Web 2.0 Definition)

With Web 1.0 in 1996, a relatively few websites were publishing content for 45 million global users. User generated content was barely on the radar.

Ten years later, the number of sites exploded to 80 million, content generated by more 1 billion users was roughly one-third of all content. A sizeable collective intelligence emerged.

This whole new view was powered by – at that time – a new technology called Ajax and combined with a total different approach of what to do with the web. It resulted in YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Facebook and other great apps. These apps moved the creating process to the public, massively changing our world.

The same shift is happening with government nowadays. Gov 1.0 meant one-way publishing and communication. Whereas, Gov2.0 is a massive paradigm shift towards the same ideas as seen in Web 2.0, but with citizens talking with government and other citizens. Like Web 2.0, Gov 2.0 will move the creation process to the citizens.

Some noteworthy changes include:

  • Citizens engaging in idea generation via tools like IdeaScale, UserVoice, and award-winning ManorLabs: “a citizen collaboration platform that the city deployed for citizens to submit technology ideas for the city and rate the ideas of others. Manor then chooses some of the proposals for implementation. The twist is the city has an incentive for fueling activity on the platform. Every time someone submits an idea, comments another’s idea, or votes on an idea, that person wins “Innobucks points.” The various citizen activities within Manor Labs are worth different amounts of Innobucks, which can be turned in for tangible prizes. For example, one million Innobucks points wins “mayor for the day” status, while 400,000 points can be traded for a ride-along with the police chief.”
  • Government using Web 2.0 media to reach out; for example, President Obama on YouTube
  • Using Twitter as extra channel for 311, like he City of San Francisco
  • Reporting potholes and graffiti with mobile apps like SeeClickFix
  • Share your ideas to enhance your neighbourhood with VerbeterDeBuurt
  • Cities using Facebook to circulate information about City Council meetings and elections
  • US Government choosing OpenID as method to sign-in to gov services
  • And our upcoming DotGov Mobile App, combining mobile devices with Open Data and Social Media

Although Gov 2.0 lags behind Web 2.0 by 5 years, the results will be as mind boggling.
We have only seen the beginning.

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