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The Forum > Article Comments > Government in the age of Web 2.0 > Comments

Government in the age of Web 2.0 : Comments

By Nicholas Gruen, published 11/10/2011

Time to move beyond the minimalist approach to Government 2.0 which involves an agency getting a Twitter account and if they're really brave, a blog and/or a Facebook page.

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Nicholas Gruen wrote 11 October 2011:

>... Web 1.0, was a platform for point to point communication ...

Yes, but email existed about a decade before the web. The idea of Web 2.0 is a more interactive experience, rather than read something, send a message and waiting a day for reply.

> Web 2.0 ... visit Wikipedia ... collaborate with others. ...

Web 2.0 makes it possible to create content without technical skills. Although writing a Wikipedia entry with Wiki code is still daunting.

> The world is full of hype about the web. ...

The motto of the web should be should be: "Who put the hype in hypertext?".

>... extraordinary phenomenon of Web 2.0 the Twitter hashtag ...

Tim Berners-Lee's genius was to take the existing SGML and simplify it to make HTML. Similarly, hashtags are metadata simplified for everyday use. More on this in my e-records course notes for government:

> ... internet now houses a massive collection of public resources and virtually none of that was government funded.

Two events on this:

* The Australian Computer Society (ACS) in conjunction with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, is consulting on what should be in the Australian Governments Cyber Policy, in Canberra 18 October (and other cities):

* Professor McKenzie Wark, The New School NY, will speak on the implications of the Occupy Wall Street movement at the University of Canberra, 11am 19 October 2011 (Room 2B02):

>... Creative Commons licencing to be the default was accepted, that recommendation seems to be honoured in the breach ...

Professor Anne Fitzgerald, Neale Hooper and Cheryl Foong from QUT will speak on Creative Commons at the National Library of Australia, in Canberra, 4 November 2011:

Also I am helping organize a workshop with them on academic use of CC at ANU next week. In my view we need to consider the motivations of individual public servants and academics with CC. As an example, what do think my motivation was form making my "ICT Sustainability" book and course free on-line?:
Posted by tomw, Monday, 17 October 2011 10:22:51 AM
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How very exciting. I think. Web 2.0 sounds very... exciting. Certainly, Mr Gruen is excited. It would appear, anyway.

But the article doesn't actually shed any particular light on the source of his excitement. Sure, a hashtag is rooly, rooly neat. But what does it enable Government (they of the headline, "Government in the age of Web 2.0") to do that it couldn't achieve without it?

I searched the article for an answer, but couldn't find anything remotely convincing.

"When the floods and the cyclones came, Queensland's Police already had sufficient experience of social media to use them to broadcast critical messages, to scotch incorrect rumours and to disseminate crucial information."

Ummmm... broadcast critical messages? To whom?

Scotch incorrect rumours? Promulgated by whom, and broadcast how?

Disseminate crucial information? To whom, and how?

It may have given the Queensland Police a warm glow that they were able to master such a difficult technology (oh, wait. Apparently, it is quite easy...), but were they able to determine how much "better" their communications had been? Did it reach a wider audience, perhaps?

And - forgive my scepticism - doesn't this ring any alarm bells?

"For two hours after the quake, New Zealander Tim McNamara in Wellington had enlisted Crisis Commons volunteers around the world to sift through the 300,000 odd tweets carrying the hashtag to identify the 15,000 odd that contained vital information like which gas stations still had diesel, which pharmacies still had insulin."

So, 95% of the tweets were actually nothing more than pure distraction.

And - again, forgive my passion for trivial detail - did not even the useful five percent need independent verification, requiring additional time and effort? Or is it axiomatic that a tweet is, by definition, the rolled-gold truth?

Twitter is a social medium for a reason. Sure, there may be adaptations that will enable it, or a similar technology, to integrate with the broader communication responsibilities of administrative bodies.

But it deserves better than excitable fan-boi boosterism, if it is to make any headway at all.
Posted by Pericles, Monday, 17 October 2011 11:53:05 AM
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