What are the Gov 2.0 Let Downs of 2010?

GovLoop and its members recently put together a fantastic slideshow — “Best of GovLoop 2010 and Beyond.” It highlights our successes and that’s wonderful.

What we have not done is illustrate and discuss the 2010 let downs of Gov 2.0. This is a very important step we must take. Understanding what went wrong is at least as important as comprehending what went right.

What are the hyped (and not-so-hyped) Gov 2.0 let downs in 2010?

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Justin Herman

Said George Bernard Shaw, “Hell is full of musical amatuers.” This too is true for Open Government, as enthusiastic but uninformed spectators sought to gain exposure through a litany of blog posts tweeted and retweeted into heat death. It makes it difficult to engage in meaningful dialogue on social media when channels get drowned out by this well-meaning but ultimately counter-productive white noise.

If you follow #Gov20 or #OpenGov you know of what I speak – essentially filter out @Digiphile @Govloop and a few others, then look at the remaining top 4 most vocal permanent floaters in your line of sight. That’s them.


Hmm..I’d have to disagree with Justin, with the exception of marketers trying to sell tools to help you gain more followers, etc.

I like the “white noise” amatuers, especially the well meaning ones. They are trying new things, getting online, learning by doing, etc. whereas most govvies are still hiding behind the firewall.

In my view the failure was the failure to engage more across the board, both down and in and up and out.

I’d like to see more govvies attempt to engage citizens over the next year, failed or not.

Here is a link to the definitive policy from the OSC on social media and the Hatch Act. Beyond that, most of the social media policies are still in draft form or are specific to individual Agencies, with no tiebacks to any laws that I am aware of. Now is the time to get online..


I think the initial batch of Open Gov plans really varied a lot in quality and were clearly 1.0 plans. Some were pretty great but a lot were kind of average.

Also it bugs me a little that it is often not discussed doing Gov 2.0 right vs just doing it. Some of the amazing implementations that actually gained a lot of traction (# of quality participants) often are lumped in with other basic implementations without traction. I’ve heard cities talk and they both say we got gov 2.0 or we got social media. And one city has a Twitter account with 10 followers and the other city has a great integrated social media communication across channels with thousands of followers

Joe Flood

Open Gov – it’s just a really amorphous, hard to explain concept that seems to encompass everything from government twitter feeds to more ambitious efforts. Even people who work in Open Gov can’t settle on a definition of what this term means and why it matters.

Gov 1.0 – I’m a fan of government using new tools but a big part of me wishes that government would fix its existing web sites first. By that I mean, make sure the content is up to date and easy to use.


And on a more positive note, all that means is that (as usual) there is still plenty of room for growth.

Here is something that looks very promising coming out of the UK. Would like to see more sharing of good ideas across nations as more come onboard.

“Popular ideas to become bills, as government looks to reduce disconnection between public and parliment.”

England is leading the way in certain areas of Gov 2.0 and social policies. We can learn from them: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/27/public-policies-coalition-x-factor

Sterling Whitehead

@govloop. It sounds like you may think Gov 2.0 will take 10-15 years fo become the norm in government. Am I right?

Over that time period, I wonder what GovLoop’s role will be.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Sterling – I’d still say this is where we stand on the adoption curve:

So it’s likely going to take several more years before the vision for government 2.0 is realized. My guess is more like 5 years.

Sonny Hashmi

Justin. I concur completely. In fact I just had this conversation a couple of days ago with @nicoleinDC, @liz315 and @Boones6433. While social media channels do not always HAVE to be about serious discourse only, it seems that there is a whole faction of social engagers with large influences that are trending to use this influence for the sake of building more influence only. Its become a self perpetuating, self aggrandizing, self congratulating cycle where online social influence of the few is drowning out the interesting and unique perspectives and ideas of many. I feel that the overall value of social discourse and engagement has gone down as a result. The signal to noise ration is getting lower. I hate to say it but there is historical precedence to this in IRC, BBS and other innovative (at the time) channels of engagement.

Just my $0.02

Steve Radick

I think the biggest letdown that I’ve seen is the continued marginalization of social media/open gov/gov20 people and initiatives. The people in the government actually making Gov 2.0 a reality shouldn’t be put into a social media or Gov 2.0 box – they should be integrated into the organization. Stop creating New Media Director positions for these people and instead make them real, honest-to-God leaders in the organizations, with a team and a budget. In 2011, I hope to see greater integration of Gov 2.0 principles across the board, not just contained within some arbitrary “open gov team.”