Edits: “bettered” areas with cr*ppy writing. I should re-read 3x before clicking “Publish”.
Has it been a week already since my last post? Whoa. And I was even doing well there for a while eh? I even had 3 posts in one week…
Yes, yes it has. And I’m glad to be writing a post that is very directly related to the crux of this blog: supporting my academic studies in Public Administration which of late looks into Web 2.0 & the Government of Canada. This blog helps me stimulate discussion, debate, and get valuable input I while share my own views and insight.
Time has been going by fast for me – I’m completing my masters (at least I think I am!). Just in the past month I have completed reading over 500 pages of academic (studies, reports, journals), and spent at least 2 couch-crashed weekends and early-to-late visits to cafés. Not fun, heavy on the mind, and not easy to balance with full-time work. I’m happy about the overlap I have however, and the possibility to apply insights from work to academics and from academics to work. You can say I’m engaged to my studies & work.
Finishing the studies will be bittersweet. But I’m ready to close this chapter of my life (3 years of part-time graduate studies) and I’m ready for the next one: From Academia & theory, to Practice & application. This won’t change my work direction, but it will change my (ardent) approach. To one that is more practical and less advisement. No more will be discussed on that. Well, not much.
For now I’ll give you a glimpse of what I’m working on – a diagram I made to segment the types of Web 2.0 & Government engagements into 4 categories. Maybe there’s more, but these 4 categories logically split them up…
This will help you to compare apples and oranges, if you are a:
- Communications expert;
- A manager considering tools for their employees to use;
- An analyst asking which social networks are the best for research;
- An IM/IT employee discussing the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools
The following will help you
- when you research Web 2.0 tools for use in government;
- to compare Web 2.0 tools for use in government;
- to discuss Web 2.0 – how it can help you and how it’s used by others.
Here you go, the types of Government-Public Web 2.0 relations:
(If you cannot see the image above, it’s because you can’t see PNG graphics…uh oh! Email me and I’ll email it to you. I swear.)
- Use by the Public of Web 2.0
This relates to government through social media monitoring; tracking the public’s engagement on certain issues, pervasive topics of interest to Canadians, and Crisis situation monitoring, Public use of Social networks, etc.
- Public providing information of value to Government using Web 2.0
This one’s a tricky one to explain, as it includes how Government reaches out for involvement by the public. Key here is the direction of key information using social means. This one also includes how Government engages the public to share information (which can be opinions, feedback, etc.). Admittedly, this engagement is scarce, but it does include E-consultation, online forums (like Obama’s Google Moderator town hall, not the information providing part, but the question receiving part).
- Government providing information of value to the Public using Web 2.0
This one is pretty clear cut, as Governments (especially the Canadian government) has been quite active in modernising service delivery with the public. This part includes e-government developments (I know, they’re not all Web 2.0, but there’s promise here, and Web 2.0 categorisation isn’t black & white), and Web 2.0-like functionality to service and information delivery, like the Privacy Commissioner’s Information site.
- Internal use of Web 2.0 in the government
Use of Web 2.0 tools within the government, for improved quality and efficiency work.
This is what I am studying.
Certainly there are some initiatives and projects that cross these – and there should be. An opportunity to engage the public would be more effective by providing information to the public as well. Consulting with the public on ways to improve Service Canada for example. Same with internal use of Web 2.0 in government – these tools (or similar ones) are used in the public (and used for monitoring). For example, the public use Wikipedia, and the same engine that runs Wikipedia runs GCPEDIA.
Personally, I’m mostly interested in those tools that improve the efficiency of Government (area #4). But I’m interested in the other ones too, of course.
But it is important to understand these categorisations. It helps lots when situating yourself with the Web 2.0 tools you hear about with government. “In which direction is the information going?” is a helpful question. Then you can align the objectives of the offerings in your assessment, research. But sometimes I screw up with my differentiation (once was at a meeting at the Privy Council Office! Ha!), but I think very good analysts (senior ones too) are very good at distinguishing categories of tools in ways like this.
Next post will actually go into the history of Web 2.0 and government, with insight on the Public Administration issues around it and leading up to it.
I have it written. It’s a great post. I assure you. Stay tuned!