Amazing things have been happening in the last few years.
Lots of people have been suddenly able to communicate with their governments in different ways. (Outcomes may vary depending on situation. Some are excellent, some are not.)
But the point is that people, and governments; are talking. In fact a lot of chatter. Social media use in government (part of what is here: "So What is Gov 2.0?") has gone from exploratory and non-budgeted use just a few years ago, to a vast arena of services, apps, ways to communicate and actually having things on budgets.
As they say, we have come a long way. Whether in government or out; whether an inventor, an engineer, an app designer, a government official, a new media department head; whether in business, government or academia.
We have gone from a handful of agencies using volunteer time and donated technologies; to dedicated funded staff using social media control rooms, and we have witnessed social media become the prevalent tool used in crisis, by the media, government and citizens alike. We have gone from almost nothing in 2008 to amazing people on Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, Google+ sharing their stories, sharing their accomplishments and making civic and public life better all of us citizens.
As the founder of Gov20LA which is now going into its sixth year, with over 52 hours of live speeches and videos having been made available to the public for free; I stand at the edges of the Gov 2.0 and Gov 3.0 movements and get to watch as both a participant and bystander. This view allows me the unique ability to work both inside government as a contractor and adviser; and outside as an innovator and idea driver. What I see is many hard working people. In government and out. The people have been and are at the heart of this transformation.
Two different investment groups have announced intentions to use funds to invest in #gov20 and #opengov startups. YCombinator and The Gov Tech Fund in September of 2014 alone. it is an exciting time for people like me. It is an exciting time for governments and citizens alike. Technology is changing the very way we all do things, every day.
But. (There is always is one.)
We cannot forget about the #DigitalDivide and the various issues it raises.
The Digital Divide is different now, in part to this explosion of new technologies, new services and super smart people bringing innovation inside and outside of government. The digital divide is almost more about high speed internet and diverse app selection versus just the basics. Does the website translate itself? What about older people, who have their own version of a digital divide, in that they view computers and technology as quite literally a different language?
For some context: I wrote this a few years back on the digital divide issues:
"Digital Divide and Gov 2.0".
And I wrote this recently about five years down the road of Gov 2.0 and Digital Diplomacy:
"Gov 2.0 and Digital Diplomacy".
Beyond the need to fix things like the Digital Divide.
Beyond the need to not have to stand in line at the DMV anymore.
Beyond being able to tweet at the White House or your member of Congress.
No, we have now transcended our own visions of just a few years ago. Congratulations! Now, back to work.
Originally published in shorter form on Silberberginnovations.com