Although the term Government 2.0 has been around since 2005, it was in 2008 it really stuck as an initiative for the government to utilize the advances in technology and IT systems to create a government system more accessible by the people and for the people.
President Barack Obama’s first memorandum issued in office after his 2008 election was the Open Government Directive defining three pillars to create a more participatory, collaborative and transparent government, whose structure has spread from federal to state and local levels rather quickly.
The idea was to create a system based on technology that allowed for digital interactions between government and citizens, government and business, government and government and government and employees.
Four main activities occur within each of these areas, the first being pushing information. After that, communication between citizens and agencies or agencies to agencies, the ability to do transactions online and governance of the citizens.
So what exactly does that mean for us as citizens and how does this really benefit us?
It allows us to be involved in the government as it was intended by our founding fathers, by the people for the people. It makes information previously hard to get a hold of accessible quickly and easily. It allows us to perform many of the functions previously requiring a long visit to a government office, quickly and at the speed of digital light.
While the government was quick to pick up the initiative, there have been some snags on the road to getting Government 2.0 up and working the way it was intended but it is a learning process like everything else. Realizing this has to be a dynamic initiative, changing, as fast technology is one of the first steps in realizing continuing success with the sharing of information and inclusion of the people in a government that is transparent and accountable to the people.
Transparency in government is vital in order to let the people be informed about what policies the government is trying to implement. It allows them to get more involved at the ground level with policy making.
While there has always been a way to reach your representatives, with Internet and digital services, it is not a lengthy process of past years. Your representative directly represents the people, being able to interact with them more readily allows for more actual representation of the people’s wants.
There are pros and cons to everything really and sometimes we think, with the government involved, there must be more cons. This initiative, however, is one of the best things to happen for allowing the people to be as much a part of the government as they can and to more freely share information.
With more and more people using digital technology, some of it that wasn’t even available back when President Obama sent out the Open Government Directive memo, it only makes sense to have Government as close as an app, or internet browser, away.