Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lightning Round

I've posted the slides for my talk at the Gov 2.0 Expo here.

Here are my 12 Don't for Government 2.0:

1. Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver

Personal communication made possible by services like Twitter can also be a channel for broken promises, particularly if a statement is made on a controversial matter without approval from higher-ups.

2. Don’t Pander, Especially to Children

Kids don't go to government websites to admire your cartoon characters; they come to do research for school reports.

Kids don’t go to your websites to play hangman or do mazes either. They need information literacy not madlibs.

3. Don’t Get Too Far Ahead of Yourself

It’s fun to build an office or an embassy in Second Life. And it is so much more quiet than a real office or embassy. The real challenge is building communities not 3-D buildings. And you need to think about the Internet users of the present rather than the ones of the future.

4. Don’t Believe That a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Photos and videos don’t necessarily resolve controversies. Images can be ambiguous, and many people study them to search for clues and conspiracies in the details.

5. Don’t Pretend You’re Listening, When You’re Not

If you ask people to "share your story" and then you don’t do anything special with it, they will become cynical about the government's interest in user-generated content.

6. Don’t Assume That No One Will Mess With You

It’s the Internet, you need to think about security. Your users do things with unsecured networks all the time, which makes them vulnerable to hackers. But there are also griefers, trolls, and spoilers to worry about and the question of what to do when conventions are broken rather than actual laws.

7. Don’t Assume That Everyone is Messing With You

Don’t send threatening legal letters just because artists and activists challenge your authority. It is your job to be above parody, which is Constitutionally protected speech.

8. Don’t Take Things Out of the Public Domain

Don’t say people can’t remix your content. It’s the Internet. That’s what people do.

And please don’t ever ever put copyright symbols on material in the public record. You are the government, not the recording industry or the movie business.

9. Don’t Live For the Moment

Who will maintain government domain names like FoodSafetyWorkingGroup.gov or AStrongMiddleClass.gov or MakingHomeAffordable.gov or FinancialStability.gov? Once born who will assure that all of these new URLs that aren't associated with actual government agencies will not be orphaned.

10. Don’t Drink the Corporate Cool-Aid

With the expanding use of commercial Web 2.0 technologies by government agencies, there is the danger that -- in the name of “participatory culture” -- the government may risk compelling its citizens to participate in particular copyright regimes that constrain speech, to submit to corporate user agreements that rewrite the social contract, and to divulge private information to commercial vendors without their consent.

Besides, you are the government. You are not a brand. Calvin Klein is a brand. The Gap is a brand. US AID is not a brand.

11. Don’t Think the Military Knows Everything Just Because They Hire Eighteen-Year-Olds and Because They Have a Lot of Awesome James Bond Looking Stuff

The exciting thing about the new technologies that can transform democratic processes is that they are being adopted by people of all ages, from all classes, and from many different backgrounds.

12. Don’t Ignore Academics Just Because They Tell You What You Don’t Want to Hear

Check out my work and work by Rebecca MacKinnon, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Ian Bogost, Geert Lovink, Laura DiNardis, and many others on the web.

Video to come soon from me and my fellow speakers.

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Anonymous Arvind said...

Oh! I loved those points you've mentioned, Liz. It was constantly nagging me to see hundreds of n00bs & naysayers talking about number of fans, followers, games and FB pages for Government 2.0.

It almost sounded like a derailment of the entire philosophy, duh.

If my kid wants to play video games, Government website is gonna be the last thing coming on his mind. Or probably not even the last thing. Very well pointed out.

CEO - http://bubbleideas.com

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Alena Popova said...

Hi, Lis! My name is Alena Popova, and I'm developing Gov 2.0 in Russia. Like your speech at Gov2Expo and publish it in my blog for russian audience!
Thank you!
my contact e-mail alyona.popova@gmail.com


1:58 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kujawski said...

Great points Lis, although I disagree with you on your statement about U.S AID or any organizational entity for that matter not being a brand.

That being said, your definition of branding may be different than mine. All too often people associate branding with a logo or colour scheme. Branding is primarily about client/citizen experience, service standards, people, and consistency among all of the above. A branding strategy is crucial for any organization.

The private sector practice of strategic marketing (which includes branding), can absolutely be applied to the public sector to help government and non-profit organisations be more efficient and effective in reaching their non-monetary objectives. Take a look at the field of "social marketing", (not to be confused with social media marketing) which has been around since the 70's :


Kudos to you for raising lots of other important points thought.



2:24 PM  

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