02 December 2005

Is Web 2.0 too farsighted for governments?

For saavy Internet users, comfortable with using technologies such as wikis, RSS, news aggregators and blogs; it might be difficult to understand why governmental intranets seem fixated on using what is fast becoming old stuff. The nature of the web is changing. The nature of government is not.

The old World Wide Web was based on the Web 1.0 paradigm of websites, email, search engines and surfing.

The new Web 2.0 (see article in Wikipedia for a full explanation on web 2.0), on the other hand, leverages new technologies such as weblogs (blogs), wikis, RSS feeds, news aggregators, social software, social networks, web services and others. Within a few years, it is not unrealistic to expect fundamental changes with regards to our media landscape - see the EPIC 2014 movie. What of governments?

Governments are often unable to embrace these new technologies because they are severely hampered by organizational inertia and byzantine approval processes. For example, to introduce the (simple) concept of RSS feeds and news aggegation in a large governmental intranet, when its IT staff does not know what RSS is; makes the journey to Web 2.0 look frankly impossible. If governmental IT staff is unaware of RSS, wikis, etc.; how can senior management pause, and reflect on how to free up intellectual capital by leveraging web 2.0 technologies?