Fear of change brought on by sudden onslaught of #gov20

My business partner and I were in meetings this week with a government agency dealing with sudden onslaught of “Gov 2.0.” Deja Vu. It came full blast this week from the year 2008. We might as well have been in an episode of the TV show “Fear Factor” as at some points fear was the major chasm to be crossed in the room.

Government 2.0 initiatives have been in full force since late 2009, early 2010. In 2008, however, the U.S. Government had not yet passed the Open Government Directive or the Joint Chiefs of Staff Open Source memo milestones. Officials were scared of change. Social media was a big angry beast that was not understood, not clearly developed in a government sense and something just to shy away from.

But we have moved to a point where major federal agencies not only have printed and published guidelines and existing working programs – but we are witnessing global cooperation on the Government 2.0 stage and collaboration is now fostering success. In late September of 2011 there will be a meeting of over 20 countries dedicated to Open Government and Government 2.0 around the globe. This is an exciting time for people like myself, advocating, pushing, pulling and even getting yelled at to accomplish change.

But still fear lingers, its wraith like fingers coming in the dead of night, or in the depth of a boardroom on a sunny day. Social media has its heroes and demons alike that is clear. But mobility, social connectivity and the desire for more transparency and openness create strange bedfellows. Just when an agency indicates a real need for Gov 2.0 – someone inevitably throws cold water. Sometimes freezing cold water, but still the movement continues, and the forward progression of the adoption of a new way of business for government continues uni-directionally.

My solution for fear based discussions about Gov 2.0? Look around. See all the successful implementations of open data, of social connectivity for Government and Citizens alike and see the results. It is not hard to find an example of government agencies adopting various parts of this big picture. Just ask your local fire department how they are using location based services. Or ask your local police department how they monitor social media for evidence of crimes. Look at the military using social media in offensive, defensive methods as well as for recruiting and publicity. Look at how the FBI regularly uses social media to tell the story about what they do. Look at the State Department’s continual innovations in new uses of mobility and social media. That is how your agency overcomes fear brought on by a sudden onslaught of Gov 2.0.

Why it (Gov 2.0) matters to you.

Republished from Silberberg Innovations.

The other day I had an awesome opportunity to moderate a panel at Los Angeles City Hall. As part of the Social media week, Los Angeles, we were having an engaged dialog about Government 2.0 and the accompanying culture change that is sweeping Governments across the country, and indeed across the Globe. The President of the Los Angeles City Council, Eric Garcetti, decided to join the discussion.

This made for an even more engaging dialog. Mr. Garcetti joined us with his blackberry in hand and was indeed both live tweeting the event and handling emails all while being part of the conversation. This was a great moment for me. Not just because I was thrilled to have him be part of the panel; but because he was giving a live demonstration of Government 2.0 in action. Here I was silently watching the President of the City Council of the 2nd largest city in the United States actively participating in a dialog, and contributing from the user perspective, not just a politician trying to seek answers. He was actually giving some of the answers.

While we were sitting at the top of the Los Angeles City Hall in the famous Bradley room which offers a unique 360 degree view of Los Angeles, it occurred to me that we have already crossed a major chasm with Government 2.0, even if few realize it. Not only are doing it now, but the politicians are starting to realize this is a leadership position to be taking.

We are no longer in the maybe stage. We have left the what if stage. We are in the doing stage. Here was an elected official – using the very tools we were talking about – and describing an ever more engaged public. This City Council President described both a vision of the “ultimate Gov 2.0 Platform” and a dynamically changing electorate. We are winning the revolution, even if it may not seem like it. These tools are not only being used, but smartly in many instances. Those politicians who are jumping in are seeing higher levels of engagement, (which brings it’s own set of issues to be sure.) Citizens are beginning to see ways to take back control of their Governments. We were even using the word “fun” to describe how citizens should be able to view their online engagement with their elected officials.

This matters. It matters to you, your children, your families and communities. This is not something that matters today, and then will fade away. This matters more and more. It is up to Citizens (You 2.0) or (Citizen 2.0) to take this new direction of Governance and run with it. It matters because we have the attention of our leaders now. Now we have to keep pressing.
In the room where the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution was signed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania there is a famous chair. The chair that George Washington sat in, with all the people around him while signing both. The chair has a sun on the headrest, it is often said that it was the rising sun for the United States of America. In this case, the sun is most definitely rising.

Gov 2.0 Leadership and Visionary Moves

Well. Here we are.

As of May 24, 2010 – “You2Gov.com, You2Gov.org, You2Gov.net” are all now officially part of the History of the evolution of both the Internet and Government 2.0 The site is still up, and you will notice it up and down over next several weeks. It is not an identity crisis. It is not a retreat. It is a next step as one of the leading Gov 2.0 Companies in the United States.

Yes. It is true.

Being one of the pioneering and visionary Government 2.0 Websites in the United States and helping to unleash the Government 2.0 and Citizen 2.0 Movements is hard work. Along with being one of the principal private companies driving the innovative ideas now percolating through Capitols; State and Local, Federal and International, it is time for us to take a pause.  It is time to breathe.

We have worked tirelessly to build a citizen engagement platform. The Government loves us. The media loves us. But few people take the time to actually make use of these tools as of right now. After two years of providing cutting edge Government 2.0 capabilities – guess what happened? The Government 2.0 Community is growing. Fast. It is growing on Facebook, it is growing on Twitter, it is coming to a locality near you. But NOT necessarily as a platform. It may involve a real fabric of tools and applications; carefully woven together to increase transparency, open our governments to all of us, and stop organized corruption.

Instead of competing in a bloody red ocean over yet-to-be defined profit points – we have  decided to close the platform side of our business while focusing on other areas like further innovation and strategic consulting. Why? There is tremendous competition that is extremely well funded that is now just on the horizon, in those clouds over there. There is also amazing opportunity on the innovation, strategic consulting and multi-media aspects.

You2Gov is not going black.

Just our websites (sometimes) until the next generation of it/them appears.  That might seem counter-intuitive. But we are not focusing on this side of the Gov 2.0 equation anymore. We do have our sights focused on some other pieces that many are yet to be talking about. So instead of focusing our efforts on a platform that is now being replicated by many others in different forms, we will be addressing new areas of the Gov 2.0 and Gov 3.0 space.

Some of our highlights to now:

Being named to PC Magazine’s Best of 2008 List after only two months in existence.

Craig Newmark Taking an Interest in You2Gov’s Mission and following thru.

Rollout of Direct Democracy 3,0

Being Interviewed by Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris (several times, even with kids in tow!)

Creating the groundbreaking (and Taking Lots of Heat for it) GOV20LA

Executing on an incredible Gov20LA 2010. See all the  Long Form Videos Here.

Thanks to all who have in your own way helped to make this early part of You2Gov’s existence be such an exciting ride.

I especially want to note the following: Ralph J. Shapira, Lisa Cohen, Craig Newmark, Lewis Shepherd, Lovisa Williams, Bev Godwin, Naomi Caietti, Debra Bowen, Scott Johnson, my brother, my parents and everyone around us who support what the You2Gov platform is all about.

Sign up on the right over there —– subscribe to this blog, and learn about all of our next moves. Because – there is lots coming down the pike – and sometimes as progress and changes happen, so do unexpected movements. Innovation requires forward thinking and sometimes innovators make moves that are not clearly understood at the time, but reveal themselves as part and parcel of a larger process.

Alan W. Silberberg

Co-Founder, CEO, You2Gov, LLc.

Gov20LA First Day

It was amazing. More tomorrow. Follow the live stream tomorrow: http://www.gov20la.org, http://www.you2gov.org

So many incredible participants and speakers; panelists that even though I knew “who was coming” I didn’t know the energy or enthusiasm. It was mind blowing. From the Keynote to the panels, it was a phenomenal display of collaborative group sharing and learning.

At this point we know that over 52,000 Unique Individuals watched the LiveStream on TechZulu and an additional 20,000+ uniques watched on other distribution outlets. Company Founders, Governments from 5 Countries, and from all across the West and East and Central USA. Academics, Non Profits. This is real, and it happened today, and again tomorrow.

One thing we really zeroed in on is a very basic question: What is the Definition of Government 2.0?

Why, you are asking does this matter?

Very simply, the more we can simplify the language we speak about this the quicker we can achieve buy in from the interested parties and constituents. The People.

This is about the merger of Government 2.0 and Citizen 2.0 = People enforcing their ownership of the Government. Not vice-versa.

I heard from many People today about it feeling like a new level of sophistication and industry awareness is emerging. People are starting to count numbers, look at metrics. The success stories are clear, and relevant. But it was pointed out today, that in all the talk about Data, Openness, Transparency, Tools, it is all about the People. Us.

One thing I put out as a major objective of this weekend is to not just define what Government 2.0 really is, what “Gov 2.0″ really is;  but to possibly create a language standard that can be applied across Governments, across the “industry.” We are up to this challenge. The incredible outpouring of enthusiasm and excitement for getting past the great unknowns of Government 2.0 and instead; making Gov 2.0 simple, easy and about People that are right here, gathered in Los Angeles. Yes you are here.

Re-posting of You2Gov CEO Alan W. Silberberg’s blog

Political Power to Real People

Political Power to Real People

Reposted in entirety from:

http://www.you2gov.org/index.php/Blog/Default-Category/Time-to-get-Serious.html

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THIS FINANCIAL DEBACLE CALLED THE BAILOUT?

If the $800 Billion + Bailout was not enough, now we learn about the outrageous behavior of the just bailed out AIG executives. Let us all hope that the rest of the bailout money (our money) is not spent so extragavantly or so obviously “in your face”. The “Bailout Bush and Buddies Bill” of 2008 is in future years going to be seen as a total sham. The structural problems in the economy are all too real. But if the “bailout” money is going to secure multi-million dollar executive salaries rather than pension funds, unemployment funds, or re-training funds — then lots of questions need to be asked and they need to be asked now. While the current Congress is in action, we all need to continue to assert our rights as citizens and taxpayers for demanding the truth (truth in lending). We need to show the leaders that the outpouring of anger, angst and the almost meltdown of congressional phone and email servers was not a one time flash, but rather a hot fire on their collective behinds. These people just voted on all this money to “stabilize the financial system” but how many Members of Congress, Republican or Democrat can tell any of us what a derivative swap is, or a fractional loan value, or for that matter the difference between a mortgage backed security and a partially mortgage backed financial instrument? Do they know what they voted on besides fear? How many of them can actually tell us what would have happened if this bailout was not rushed but rather put through the Committee System, be subject to debate and critique from the media, from academia and from other Government agencies?

You2Gov designed tools to make all of us more informed, more powerful. If we have learned anything from these times filled with fear, both literal and imagined – it is that the only thing that matters now is oversight. Not the kind you hear bandied about by this and that Congress person or Senator. No, I mean the kind of oversight a manager effects on his staff, or the kind of oversight that a principal has with the teachers, or even better the kind of oversight the military practises on itself through the chain of command. In this case the chain of command ends with you and me. We are the owners of the United States, the people. There are little read documents, some people don’t even know what they are. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, If you have not read them lately or never have, now is a good time to catch up. One of the important things you will come away with is how seriously the Founding Fathers took the concept of “Power from the People, to the People.”

We all need to be that serious about this serious situation.

The Digital Divide circa 2011

The Digital Divide.

 It is still here, getting better and worse at the same time. I have written about the digital divide often, including its implications for Government 2.0 or “Gov 2.0″ as it is commonly called.

My most recent post on the issue is: http://www.silberberginnovations.com/silberbergs-gov-2-0-blog/updates-on-digital-divide-and-gov-2-0/. However since I am writing this on a tablet it probably won’t show up as a live link due to difficulty in pasting. 

But I have a tablet, smartphone and until today a laptop. My laptop died an in-glorious death, slowly by 1s and 0s. In one day my consumption of information has dropped, and I have to work harder to achieve roughly same level of output as normal.

All of these are first world concerns. There are millions and millions of people to whom a phone is often located somewhere other than where they live. People to whom a tablet is a piece of rock or wood to work or cook on. These people don’t consume information – except that by the oldest social media there is, word of mouth. 

Many great organizations around the world are addressing the Digital Divide in their own way. But as the speed and consumption of information rapidly increases around the world, what is happening to those not part of this torrent?