The argument of whether to prioritize and set goals for transparency or responsiveness when implementing #Gov20 for local government agencies gets mixed reactions. It’s easy to say both should be a priority, but with limited time, money and man power this isn’t always a realistic option. So what’s the answer?
It’s impossible to get even minimal response to transparency initiatives without first organically building and being responsive to your community. Why spend time and energy on online transparency initiatives until you know what your audience will be, wants or needs. That is basic strategy.
A friend of mine sent me an email today and asked how to reach residents to promote a really incredible budget visualization tool he created. Despite his personal attempts through Twitter and other social networks, nothing was generating a response. His agency’s official social media presence is nonexistent. Only a handful of budget fanatics really appreciated what it could do. I asked: Why do you expect pubic interaction with your agency when your agency is silent?
My argument would be the same for local, state and federal agencies. I believe you need to encourage interaction with your agency, explain policies, procedures, respond to complaints and build a group of both ambassadors and critics before you should begin any major transparency or #opengov initiatives. Your agency should spend months, a year, or years energizing and growing your new online community. Only then will these transparency initiatives be a worthwhile venture.
Join us on Wednesday, July 21, at 9 EST for #localgovchat.