You bring up a good point that we need to make sure we don’t focus too much on any one method of delivery. I guess to me that is what Web 2.0 is all about – using all the tools in creative ways to get the basic job done and reach the most people.
To me the most basic challenge of all is getting true engagement. While Mark Danielson’s (another GovLoop member) community is fortunate that so many citizens come to their council meetings and interact, we rarely have anyone show up. What is the key to making the difference?
So far, I have had the most success in engaging citizens just going out into the neighborhoods during the day and talking to folks who stop to ask us what we are doing. But that only works with people who don’t work all day long.
I also feel government, particularly local government, is challenged by the fact that few people really understand the functions of local government and the rules under which communities operate. Why don’t we teach this in high school? Some expect so much I am waiting for someone to call and ask me to do their dishes. Their education about our country also leads them to believe that because we are all so “free” they can do whatever they want on their property and are highly indignant that there are zoning and building laws.
Anyway, I guess I see virtual worlds as offering some medium through which some of this can be taught if handled correctly. For example, where else could you purposely set up a demonstration showing the need for proper zoning that anyone can visit. (I realize some of us might have some real world examples of this in their towns but who would travel to see it?).