Government 3.0


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Social media is the fastest growing channel where citizens are engaging with government agencies, and it demands real-time attention. The government has successfully adopted Web 1.0 technology concepts like search, connecting web pages and one-way broadcasting of information over the internet and through email.  Likewise, they are on the right path with social media concepts and tools including blogs, government participation on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Did you see that the Defense Department released an official social media use policy that allows open access for all agency components?  We’ve also seen the concepts the government is implementing under the Open Government Directive (transparency through information sharing, collaboration) which I like to refer to as Level 1 participation.

According to a recent GCN article, one in three government IT professionals expect to implement a social networking initiative in the next 12 months. The next frontier in government is thinking about and implementing Web 3.0, with a social twist.  The definition of Web 3.0 is still being debated, but I believe Web 3.0 or Government 3.0 is about citizen centered innovation (Level 2 participation), the convergence of business applications and social media platforms, the semantic web (self learning knowledge and technology) and personalization.  Also, in the Government 3.0 future there will be a heavier focus on measuring the social citizen experience and the return on investment associated with implementing social tools.

Alan Webber with Altimeter Group recently pointed out that “organizational and cultural shifts take time, effort, resources, and work to be successful – not hype.” Government 3.0 will only be successful with time, effort, resources and real work. So let me breakdown each of the concepts so we can get started:

1)        Citizen centered innovation. The primary concept here is engaging with citizens to allow them to drive innovation – let’s call this citizen powered innovation.  Government agencies can leverage the citizen to help improve the service and support they provide.  Citizens have strong opinions and great ideas – why not let them work to help identify new business processes, help refine ideas, submit new ideas, allow them to share ideas, and pilot these ideas to further refine them before putting into practice.

2) Convergence of business applications and social media platforms. The contact center is a prime location for the convergence of business applications with social media platforms.  Agencies’ contact centers need to listen to conversations that are taking place on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube etc. and have the ability to engage in the conversation as appropriate.  An example of this would be a citizen posting a comment on Twitter stating “I’m stuck in Italy, lost my passport & the State Dept does not have a 24 hr hotline.  Please help. #gov.” Agencies can use social monitoring tools to immediately route this tweet into the contact center so an agent can immediately begin solving the problem.  Moreover, an automatic reply can be tweeted stating that “Hello, I’m with the State Department and I see you need help.  Please feel free to contact me at 1-877-487-2778.”

3) Personalization and the semantic web. Agencies need to get to know the individual citizen to provide a more personalized experience.  Each interaction with an agency should be captured and a contact history developed, but not just tracking the questions they’ve asked and information they’ve already searched for, but  extending this further by allowing citizens to participate in forums and communities of interest.  Once a history starts to develop agencies will be better equipped to evaluate citizen participation.  For example, if someone posts something positive – say “thank you.” Or if they are expressing unhappiness, the agency can use this information to open a support ticket to help. If incorrect facts are being circulated – provide correct information. If they have correct facts – use social tools to share the facts with others to amplify the conversation. At the very least, just monitoring social channels helps agencies stay one step ahead of a call for action.

4) Measure Return of Investment. Government 3.0 success can be measured in many tangible ways.  Agencies can lower their support costs by allowing citizen-to-citizen help through a forum. What’s cheaper than a channel that does not require any direct contact with your agency?  How about the free innovation that the citizens can provide; much more cost effective than a multi-million dollar RFP.  Then there is the savings around delivering proactive citizen support by monitoring and joining conversations, then routing citizens to self-service applications that are far less expensive than engaging a contact center agent.

The time to embrace Government 3.0 is now.  Social networks are becoming more ubiquitous and relevant every day.  It is necessary to incorporate this channel into your citizen experience planning, processes and open government toolkit.  Let me know if your agency has addressed the social channel successfully or if they are resistant and why?

Follow me on Twitter @Kevin_Paschuck

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Paschuck
As Vice President of Public Sector, Kevin leads all RightNow sales activity which includes Federal Civilian Government, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, Higher Education and State & Local Government. He has been a leader in information technology sales and sales management for more than 12 years.


  1. Hi, one thing that seems to have been ignored by the world, is the ability and utility value for ‘individual’ people to save their social media offline.

    We all know that Governments and Enterprises are using social media extensively to communicate with their audience from time to time.

    With respect to Governments, the communication can be in the form of changes made to various laws, or related to travel advisories, or health, or education, or the environment. Every Government department has something or the other to tell its citizens.

    With respect to Enterprises, they need to inform their audience about “what’s new” to support issues.

    If people have an easy way to save their facebook posts and tweets by ‘subjects’, annotate the same, and share with others, it would make huge sense. Think of an e-mail that arrives in your inbox. If it gets deleted, you have nothing. In the same way, since facebook posts and tweets don’t stay on their respective pages for a few hours sometimes, of what use is the information if it is not consumed? And, even if it is consumed, how can it be remembered?

    While some Government departments are making it compulsory for Enterprises to archive social media as evidence, it is equally important for ‘individuals’ to have a simple, but powerful system of saving social media, to be able to create “digital diaries/magazines” for themselves. If this is done, they have nothing to fear, since the media is with them, and will not be lost. They can always refer to these saved items when they need them, and basically save them for posterity.

    Do let me know what you think.



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