Saturday, July 05, 2008

Is government on the internet or part of the internet?

I've been reviewing a very interesting presentation from Paul Ramsay, one of my blog's Canadian readers.

Titled RoboCop, Public Service in the Internet Age, it asks whether government is simply on the internet, or is part of the internet.

It frames this question based on whether government is simply using the intranet to replicate the services it provides via other channels, or using the new medium to go further.

This is a topic I resonate with. For many years I've been telling people that what we see on the internet today is similar to what we first saw in films - stage shows re-enacted on a flat screen.

It took many years for movie makers to learn how to use the medium to go beyond what was possible on a stage, and the types of movies we see today bear little resemblance to our first stumbling efforts in the medium.

The internet is the same. It's not just digital paper, online radio or short videos - it's a mass medium that takes all these elements, twists them 180 degrees and adds on seamless global surfing, collaboration, citizen empowerment and much more.

From what we've managed to do so far at my agency we're simply on the internet - providing electronic versions of print concepts - 'fact sheets', 'newsletters', 'forms', 'media releases' and 'data tables'.

I am hopeful and working hard to ensure that in the next few years we'll break through the perceptual barriers to build understanding across the department of what is really possible with the online channel and how we can support our customers and staff in entirely new ways.

New medium = new rules
New medium = new opportunities
New medium = new challenges

How do you see the internet changing your organisation?

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