How Long Will Gov 2.0 Take To Go Mainstream?

I was reading Kelly’s post from the ALI Social Media for Government conference where she stated that this year the vibe was a little tough as people discussed the struggles getting gov’t to use social media.

Which gets me to my question: How Long will it Take for Gov 2.0 to Go Mainstream?

If the OMB memo is released in late May 09, how long will it take for agencies to really get going on this?

The analogy to me is web 1.0 – how long did it take for all agencies to get online and realize they need a website?

In one sense, the pace of change is so fast – Twitter is only 3 years old, Facebook – 5 years old. But gov’t often moves slow (how long have we been negotiating the YouTube contract – almost a year now?).

How long will it take for all agencies to make real steps in using social media to be open, transparent, and collaborative?

6 months? 1 year? 2 years? 4 years?

Would love your thoughts…

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Denise Hill

I think that GovLoop is mainstream. The quality of the members is great. The sharing and collaboration that happens here transfers to other sites, work products, and the advancement of social networking. So (1) if GovLoop is mainstream, can Gov 2.0 be far behind?

Some agencies are there now. They have a defined customer base that is helping drive agency use/adoption of Gov 2.0. For example, agencies that have schools and students as key stakeholders may have been on the cusp or ahead of the curve on Web 1.0. They are continuing the evolution to 2.0 as their stakeholders are primed, ready and drove the migration to Web 2.0. For other agencies 1+ years with the aide of sites such as Recovery.Gov, Whitehouse.gov which will help other agencies make a leap from static or unidirectional html interaction to Web/Gov 2.0. Gov 2.0 proliferation may also be more geospatially dense closer to the Washington, D.C. area. Just some midnight thoughts.

Rob McNair-Huff

I think the answer depends on what it will take for governments to be fully invested in Gov 2.0. If an agency or municipality is active on Twitter but not yet up on Facebook, does that count?

Scott Horvath

@Denise: The difference between GovLoop and Government doing something similar (or any social/2.0 service) is that GovLoop is not started by the Government but rather by a government person on their free time. It’s also contains a lot of potential personal information which is the big thing that Government websites have problems with tackling. PII policies are good, and there for a reason, but they also keep us from offering many of these services from our own sites and/or setting up shop on other sites. That’s just one example. I’m not saying it can’t be fixed, and it should, but it’ll take time. As Steve said, government is often slow.

@Rob: Being on Twitter but not Facebook shouldn’t make a difference. Government should only get involved in services when needed rather than just because. If you’re only on Twitter but you’re actively engaging the public then, to me, that matters much more than being spread thin across many services where you’re not as active. I can’t say my organization isn’t guilty of that, and I think many organizations do that by accident. But it’s more valuable to be in a few places and really active than everywhere simply because you can.

Andrea Tadic

I think the biggest obstacle is a lack of any clear strategies or guidelines (I am speaking of my experience with my agency). Many people are willing to jump in, but it is hard if there is no policy in place to define what they should be doing and how, and to protect them from possible legal problems.

As for the timeline, it’s hard to say. My impression is that a lot is going on, but it’s mostly piecemeal. What would constitute “mainstream”?

Daniel Bevarly

The term “mainstream” is a moving target. Andrea is correct in pointing out a critical element missing from “Web 2.0/Gov 2.0” collaboration solutions: Our government’s formal lines of communication are based on structure and standards. These have yet to be defined in information technology, especially in social media. Email is still a challenge for most agencies to manage due, in part, to these same reasons.

Andrew Krzmarzick

It’s happening…and it will take a huge leap forward when Web 2.0 initiatives are tied to something like the President’s Management Agenda or the progress and reporting that is required under the e-Government Act of 2002…thinking on a quarter to quarter basis about “how we’re doing” in moving forward and being benchmarked against other agencies a la “Getting to Green.” As our new CIO takes the reigns and begins to hold agencies accountable for creating efficiencies through social media, we’ll see even more initiatives emerge…If I had to give a specific time period, I’d say middle to end of 2010. Of course, we won’t realize it’s mainstream because it will be commonplace (hopefully) and no longer novel.

Melissa Merrell

Watching individual agencies adopt 2.0 technologies will be interesting and I think they are far more established. Even more intriguing will be watching cross sections of fed employees using web 2.0 to facilitate gov work. Specifically, I’m thinking of things like Max Federal Community [https://max.omb.gov/maxportal/;jsessionid=aPCs6iXjW6Ph]. While I agree intellipedia was an amazing feat for agencies that are crazy about guarding national security information…the next best protected information had to be budget data.

Allen Magtibay

I think it all depends on the leadership of the agency that you work for. If the senior leaders of your agency see the benefit of Web 2.0 and would like to implement it they will get projects moving a lot faster than an agency who senior leaders may not necessary be sold on the technology. Look at the Coast Guardfor example. The Commandant is a big believer in Web 2.0. I’m sure his support is a big reason why the Coast Guard has been so successful in implementing this technology within the organization.

Melissa Merrell

@Andrew, what are you thinking would be some good benchmarks to measure agencies against? Off the top of my head, I would think:

* use and support of 2.0 tech to interact with public (emergency agencies communicating evacuations through FB and Twitter)

*2.0 technologies avaibale to staff to coordinate/share work data/production (ie, Fed MAX Community)

* publicly available raw data for innovation (Apps for Democracy)

*cloud computing

*staff level access to FB, youtube, twitter, govloop

*support of leadership