Do you ever get the feeling that the government is driving a 1972 Ford Pinto (Squeak! Sputter! Grind!) in a 2010 Tesla Roadster World (Zoom! Swoosh! Zip!)?
I will let you in on a little (but open) secret: Government is embracing new interactive and social technologies and strategies, but at a much slower rate than almost everyone else in the private sector. Some will write this off as another government failure; others will see it as an opportunity for the government to change how it does business.
You might be asking yourself why the government is so slow at embracing interactive technologies. Here are some of the reasons:
- Government services and forms must of available to all citizens, including those who do not have everyday access to Internet, a printer or do not speak English.
- Tax payer money must be spent wisely, preventing government from spending public funds on trendy tech. Any investment in new interactive service platforms must be secure, tested, long term and work every time a constituent wishes to access that service.
- The California state government is the single largest employer with more than 230,000 employees and more than 200 agencies, departments, bureaus, boards and commissions. Retraining or educating even 10 percent of state employees in new and ever-evolving interactive services is a daunting and expensive task.
However, there is a growing consensus among public officials, non-governmental organizations, media outlets and concerned citizens that the sooner governments adopt interactive platforms, the more efficient and accessible government becomes. Below is a list of ways California has adopted to increase efficiency and access:
- Every state legislator has a Website where concerns can be sent directly to his/her office via e-mail.
- Most legislators have adopted social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to keep voters updated.
- Most legislative hearings are now streamed live online at www.calchannel.com.
- Public hearings, events and announcements are also streamed online.
- Public forms and documents are slowly being published and accessible online; however online submissions are still rare.
Please comment and let us know your thoughts on how the government has embraced new tech or how it can do a better job. Look out for a follow up post next week.