I’ve been watching with interest as social media blogger extraordinaire Chris Brogan adapts his person brand from “social media guy,” to “human business guy.” Chris has been writing about effective news media strategy since long before it was a cottage industry, and many of his tips and probing questions center around the human component of using tools like Facebook and Twitter for marketing and business. His book “Trust Agents” highlights those same themes of community building online.
Just as Brogan sees a natural transition from effective use of social media to better business offline, social media values can help the growing community of Government 2.0 advocates and practitioners create a more “human” government. As Dan Munz, recently appointed to the GSA’s new media directorate, told Gov 2.0 Radio a few months back, part of the task of reform “is showing there are people inside this big black box called ‘Government.'” Social media is one remarkable way of doing that. I’ve also advocated that local governments update their service portals as social media hubs.
Last week, I enjoyed mingling with a huge crowd of tech and gov folks at a San Francisco event around “Open311,” the effort to create a common set of development standards around reporting of and requests for non-emergency city services. Standards are essential to the smooth continued evolution of government services to the web, especially for mobile devices. Government and non-profit coalitions working with the developer community to create open standards will speed the release of new applications, lower costs, and create better products for citizens. I’d say that social media-enabled transparency and technical standards are two of the pillars as we begin to flesh out the Tim O’Reilly “platform” concept of government. What do you think?