In my opinion Share My Story is an amazingly good website and a model for other egovernment initiatives by governments across Australia.
Developed using open source technologies, the site is simple to use, employs plain english, invites and supports participation and is cleanly and accessibly designed.
Launched this month (January), and already containing 35 real-life stories, the value and appeal of Share My Story to citizens is clear to me in the words of one of the authors, Bernadette Gilligan, when writing of the death of her first grandchild in a road tragedy,
Firstly, thank goodness for this website. I have been looking for something like this for 3 and a half years.
The site empowers citizens, giving them a way to share and reflect in a respectful and caring environment.
Stories are moderated, with clear guidelines on what can be submitted. The copyright arrangements are clear and stories can be simply 'rated' by clicking the 'saying thanks' button for stories that strike a chord in a reader, adding a star to a story.
It is easy to share stories across popular social networks such as Facebook and Myspace, bookmark them with Del.icio.us, rank them in StumbleUpon or Digg, or simply forward them to friends.
There is also a mechanism to flag stories and ask for their removal in exceptional circumstances.
As the About Us page for the site states,
Sharing is a powerful phenomenon. When a community comes together for a common cause, it can achieve amazing things. We can actually reduce the road toll, and that means saving lives and reducing suffering.
This is the type of well-designed and meaningful service I think of when I think of egovernment.
I hope to see other government agencies across Australia work to empower and support our communities, citizens, customers and stakeholders in similarly appropriate ways.