Rocking Citizen Power in 2012.

As the 3rd annual Gov 2.0 L.A. (Gov20LA) approaches on April 21, 2012; I have been thinking a lot about why I started this conference and what it means for you, for me and for our futures. A few years back I wrote this piece “What is Gov20LA All About?”

In the 3 years since we have seen huge growth in social media, cloud computing, mobile technologies and the subsequent explosion of citizen involvement with our governments. This has caused all kinds of situations, good and bad. On the good we are seeing country after country begin to adopt open data and transparent aspects to their internal and external operations. We have seen citizens empowered to use their voice, many for the first time ever. We have witnessed several countries fall to “soft power” of people organizing, and then acting on the organization to effect change of a type we have never seen in our collective human history. On the bad, we are seeing totalitarian governments around the world cling to these new technologies and indeed even the people’s response to them; to crack down, imprison people, kill people and break up organized groups.

I have written in the past about the two headed side of #gov20 and social media in general with regard to Governments and the people who interact with them. This dichotomy is growing, not abating. We see people using technologies to force change yet at same time we are witnessing governments around the world investigate the same technologies to prevent change.

Gov20LA was created to act as a forum to collect the best and brightest people and their ideas and enable them to tell the world their stories. The idea has always been to empower people through learning about the cutting edge applications of technology in government and by the companies servicing them. We feel that by letting you see the speakers in a casual, yet live setting online – we all can learn from the human conversation and dialogue.

Technology is great, solves lots of problems and saves money when properly applied. The problem with most technology conferences and events is they are too jargon laden and usually do not encourage open dialogue with the speakers. We do the opposite. We want the dialogue. We want our speakers interacting both with the live audience in the room and the global Internet TV audience. So we have created an open environment, with some truly amazing people from inside and outside government leading the dialogue.

I am personally so humbled and excited by the continued awesome response Gov20LA receives worldwide. I can’t wait for this year. Join me. Thank you.

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.

Video Captures the Energy, Message of “Gov 2.0” LA

Wow. Totally amazing weekend. Thank you to all of the Sponsors of Gov20LA. Thank you to all the amazing speakers and panelists and citizens. You made this event so special. Thank you to all the people around the United States, England, Canada, Israel, France, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries who participated in the camp through the live videostream.

One of the key themes in this past weekend’s event was “Video is the New Text. ” Another is that the jargon and Language used in Government 2.0 “Gov 2.0” is holding us back. A third was the focus needs to be on People. Not Technology. Not Platforms. Not Data. But real (IRL) 🙂 People. The ones who agree, and the ones who disagree.

There was a lot of energy, and many comments to me were made about how smart everyone in the room was. Another take away was that most people came up to me and told me they were meeting people in the Government 2.0 “Gov 2.0” space who they had never met before.

Brevity is key.

Alan W. Silberberg, Founder, Gov20LA and Founder, CEO of Silberberg Innovations

Some other linkouts to great posts about the camp, other content associated with it:

Keynote by Cory Ondrejka

Huffington Post

Waveling

FutureGov

Personal Democracy Forum

Flickr Stream

RockCreek SM

Re-Think Consulting

Digiphile

Digiphile (History)

Digiphile Photos

Digiphile Videos

Adriel Hampton

Alan Webber

So With that, Luke Fretwell is one of the planning committee members of Gov20LA; a “Gov 2.0” Innovator, leader and Founder, CEO of GovFresh: He made this video:

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.

Startup Beat Highlights You2Gov

Political Power for Real People

Political Power for Real People

Startup Beat highlights You2Gov in it’s most recent blog posting which can be found here:

http://www.startupbeat.com

Thanks Brian. Everyone at You2Gov really appreciates this.

Also – You2Gov is undergoing changes related to our growth. So if you see something looking different or not where it used to be, it is due to ongoing enhancements to the site. Additionally, You2Gov will be announcing new features and tools in the next few days, so stay tuned for some very exciting news out of You2Gov.