Australia ahead on Gov 2.0: Gartner
The Federal Government’s response to recommendations of the Gov 2.0 Taskforce mean Australia has a chance to outstrip Europe and the USA in terms of harnessing the power of Web 2.0 according to Andrea Di Maio, a Vice-President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner.
Andrea Di Maio,
Vice-President and Distinguished Analyst, Gartner
Di Maio believes that item 4.4 in the government’s response to the taskforce’s recommendations, which suggests “Agencies should support employee-initiated, innovative Government 2.0-based proposals [and] should create a culture that gives their staff an opportunity to experiment and develop new opportunities for engagement from their own initiative” is far better than the top-down approach other governments are adopting.
“If you think about Web 2.0 it is about people engaging with each other,” Di Maio says. “But usually when you see Gov 2.0 in action, you see strategies about how agencies engage with people. In the USA you see agencies start Facebook pages, but they get no followers.”
The reason such initiatives fail, he says, is that “No-one wants to be friends with government.”
Australia’s strategy of allowing public servants to participate in social networks is more likely to succeed.
Di Maio also has a warning, however, as he believes the strategy of releasing government datasets (see page 26 for a feature on data.australia.gov.au) has limited utility.
“There is a lot of excitement about open data, but almost no consideration of data people create and collect,” he says. “Rather than sending a social worker to check on a foster child, why not observe their Facebook page? You will be able to figure out if they are being abused or are likely to run away.” He feels governments can also learn from sources of data that citizens value.
“In the UK an online community called Netmums (www.netmums.com) has become the number one source of information for parents looking for information on childcare subsidies,” he says, with content it carries and material generated by community members outranking official government websites.
“These other information sources will become far more important than data government generates itself.”
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