I think it is a good time to start taking stock of government 2.0, distinguishing between fulfilled and unfulfilled promises. I see the great progress being made, with countries like UK and US putting gov20 at the heart of their modernisation agenda, and the EU Ministerial Declaration putting transparency and participation as first point.
However, as always, when things go mainstream they tend to loose their original spirit and be transformed into something else. In particular, I share the impression of Andrea di Maio about gov20 being at the top of the hype, although I am positive about mash-up contests. In other words, I am afraid of a major backlash in the coming years. As I said at the Personal Democracy Forum, we web20 evangelist have the responsability to set expectations right and avoid the backlash. Government will realize that it is only few people who have both the intention and the quality to give meaningful insight. I am doubtful about the idea of mass participation and wikinomics, I do not share the view proposed by “Us Now” – which is however a great initiative. I think web20 is mostly about relevance and significant input, rather than mass participation.
This is not to say that I became skeptical about gov20: on the contrary, I am more convinced than ever of its disruptive power. But we need to set the expectations right. It’s about relevance and not about representativeness, as I often say in my presentations.
Regardless on whether you agree or not, I think the forthcoming edition of the Journal of ePractice is a key opportunity to take stock of government 20, distinguishing hype from reality. The journal is not important from the academic point of view, but it is very influential in the practitioners’ world, which is also my world. After I wrote an article on measuring gov20 last year, I was invited to write for the US General Service Administration.
So please submit your articles (2000-6000 words) by February 8th (full guidelines here). Let’s start taking stock of government 2.0 and distinguishing hype from reality.