Public service 2.0
Do you feel besieged by buzz words? Does the action match the rhetoric? Is there a big mismatch between those who are passionate about the possibilities the use of social media offers the public service (and public servants), and those public servants who are not into this stuff and who rock on up to work everyday doing the best they can to serve the public?
OK. I suppose I could be being a bit negative here, but quite frankly I think there is a difference and a problem that needs to be fearlessly faced up to. By and large public servants in 2010 are experiencing much the same as they have since the 1970s and before. Red tape, hard to get things done, top heavy bureaucracy. Ooops. Here comes another low flying management fad.
Bang! Here we are in 2010 – buzzword heaven. But why oh why should people roll up to work and, to put it bluntly, have to put up with the same old rubbish?
If you are wondering where all this comes from let me explain. Recently, (actually for a long time) I have spent a lot of time listening to what public servants (Australian Public Servants) of many ages of been saying. From those who are still relatively new to the game to those who are about to retire. A few things shine through.
- All are professional people who love to be able to apply their talents to do a good job.
- All see value in people being able to engage as never before using social media.
- The older public servants are concerned for the younger public servants.
- Many see the same old controlling sub-culture at work.
- Most see great ideas emerging, but doubt they will be realised. See controlling sub-culture.
- Many see a culture where fear, uncertainty, doubt and spin are the order of the day.
- None are cynical.
- Most see resistance authentic engagement.
These voices, subjective as they are, need to be listened to. My view is that until there is a fundamental change in the day to day experience of work in the public service Gov 2.0 will not become a reality for citizens, public servants or, indeed, government itself. What we will get is the window dressing and the loss and distortion of the brilliant ideas of a lot of clever people.
So the big challenge is to push back hard against FUDS – fear, uncertainty, doubt and spin – and make sure that we don’t get trapped in a world of buzz words.
How disillusioned are people in your part of the world?
Many are standing shivering as the realization hits them that all the execs on the director’s floor can see their pictures and comments on that vacation in Cancun, you know the one. Yeah, that one with the photo of of you dancing naked on the barstool.
That’s right, Yoda, two-edged sword social media is.
Given the metrics data I’ve seen on actual Citizen interest in Government 2.0, there’s not much point. Citizens just aren’t interested. Those who see our pathetic FaceBook efforts just use them as a new transom over which to throw the same old complaints we’ve seen over and over again our entire careers.
Steve, I was just thinking about and actually writing about the same thing.
The advocates of the movement are familiar with most of them. The uninitiated are not and, just like with other technical jargon, legal jargon, or any other jargon, the barrage of buzzwords, even after extensive explanation, leaves the uninitiated disillusioned. At least, that’s been my experience, which sometimes is not a reasonable reference. Maybe I just need to do a better job of imparting information.
Marketing 2.0 plays a big role in Web 2.0.
What do these terms really mean?
Web 2.0 – it’s the Internet
Gov 2.0 – it’s government doing what it should be doing
And now, we have Citizen 2.0 infiltrating our vocabulary. Does Citizen 2.0 have a barcode or a microchip? No, of course, and that’s probably a gross use of sarcasm.
Is Citizen 2.0 any different than a person who’s active- a person who reads and shares perspectives?
How about Plain Language 2.0?
I know this isn’t the case everywhere, and I’m very excited to see more people (Andrew Krzmarzick, Adriel Hampton, Jeff Levy, Tim O’Reilly, for example) are recognizing this movement is changing people and advocating for the culture change needed to make improvements possible.
When folks like Sunlight Foundation director, Ellen Miller, questions the federal government’s commitment to transparency initiatives at a high visibility event, like a Gov 2.0 Summit, then
that may be of concern. According to Ms. Miller, “Sunlight Foundation’s online tool, Clearspending, has found that nearly $1.4 trillion in annual spending has been misreported in public government databases.” Furthermore she says, “That’s fully half of the spending. Some of the numbers are too big, some too small, and some not there at all. Some don’t have the detail required, and others were reported much later than required.”