The other day I had an awesome opportunity to moderate a panel at Los Angeles City Hall. As part of the Social Media Week Los Angeles, we were having a dialog about Government 2.0 and the accompanying culture change that is sweeping governments across the country, and indeed across the globe. The president of the Los Angeles City Council, Eric Garcetti, decided to join the discussion.
This made for an even more engaging dialog. Mr. Garcetti joined us with his BlackBerry in hand and was indeed both live tweeting the event and handling emails all while being part of the conversation. This was a great moment for me. Not just because I was thrilled to have him be part of the panel; but because he was giving a live demonstration of Government 2.0 in action. Here I watching the president of the City Council of the second largest city in the United States actively participating in a dialog, and contributing from the user perspective, not just as a politician trying to seek answers. He was actually giving some of the answers.
While we were sitting at the top of the Los Angeles City Hall in the famous Bradley room, which offers a unique 360 degree view of Los Angeles, it occurred to me that we have already crossed a major chasm with Government 2.0, even if few realize it. Not only we are doing it now, but the politicians are starting to realize this is a leadership position to be taking.
We are no longer in the maybe stage. We have left the what if stage. We are in the doing stage. Here was an elected official - using the very tools we were talking about - describing an ever more engaged public. This City Council president described both a vision of the "ultimate Gov 2.0 Platform" and a dynamically changing electorate. We are winning the revolution, even if it may not seem like it. These tools are not only being used, but smartly in many instances. Those politicians who are jumping in are seeing higher levels of engagement, (which brings it's own set of issues to be sure.) Citizens are beginning to see ways to take back control of their governments. We were even using the word "fun" to describe how citizens should be able to view their online engagement with their elected officials.
This matters. It matters to you, your children, your families and communities. This is not something that matters today, and then will fade away. This matters more and more. It is up to Citizens (You 2.0 or Citizen 2.0) to take this new direction of governance and run with it. It matters because we have the attention of our leaders now. Now we have to keep pressing.
In the room where the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution was signed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, there is a famous chair. The chair that George Washington sat in, with all the people around him while signing both. The chair has a sun on the headrest, and it is often said that it was the rising sun for the United States of America. In the Gov 2.0 case, the sun is most definitely rising.
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