Which party would you rather go to?
Reading Merritt’s posting on Government 2.0 last week, I was particularly drawn to one point that she made – “like the corporate world, the government is learning how to listen to its audience, where they are…”
These last three words – “where they are” – is an important shift in how the government is interacting with the public and their employees. Traditionally, the government Internet or intranet Web site was about connecting people to information. Web sites included tons of links to reports, policies, photos, press releases, jobs, and other types of data. If someone had a question or comment, they were directed to a “Contact Us” page where they could submit their feedback. In recent years, government Web sites have even started including videos, pictures, and even blogs on their Web sites, too. Come on over to the party!
However, despite the availability of the “Contact Us” pages, the photos, and the blogs, their party was usually pretty lonely. Their blogs received few comments, their photos weren’t being downloaded and they got virtually no useful feedback via the “Contact Us” forms. Governments have started to realize that just because their stakeholders weren’t at their party doesn’t mean they were at home by themselves. They were just attending parties where their friends already were – on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
As the Government 2.0 movement gains momentum, we’re seeing more government agencies joining their stakeholders where they are – on Twitter, on YouTube, on Facebook, and on Flickr. They’re answering questions, they’re participating in conversations, they’re asking their own questions, and most importantly, they’re creating real relationships with their stakeholders. They’re realized that it doesn’t matter whether you’re the party host or not – the most important thing about any party is the people and the relationships with those people. So, before you add a blog or other social media to your Web site, you might want to check if your stakeholders are already talking about you at another party, and head over there before starting your own.
Photo credit, iStock