03 April 2009

Web 2.0 and Government

Matt "MountainRunner" Armstrong posits the question whether or not Social Media can organically transform government. More specifically, can it transform the way the government does business? We've all seen the ways in which individuals have used social media to transform the government from the outside. Look at the efficiency of the Obama campaign--President Obama was almost always seen with a Blackberry in hand, and took advantage of Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter and Facebook. Contrast this with Senator McCain, who made the faux pas of admitting that he'd never been on the Internet.

Also witness the mass protests against the FARC (edit: which MountainRunner already commented on)--the revolutionary Columbian narcotic organization, which were organized on Facebook. Millions took the streets all over the world to protest the FARC, and caused mass desertions--rivalling American efforts over the past decades which had cost millions, if not billions of dollars.

But the question MountainRunner poses is whether or not it can be used to transform the processes of government itself. It's a good question, but no one can doubt that the New Media has certainly transformed the way the military does some of its businesses. Army Knowledge Online now has an area in which users can post blog entries, and blogs have become a way of life for military professionals, with high-ranking officials regularly reading the most up-to-date blog posts and entries.

The criticism that has been brought up, however, about the military Web 2.0 community (typically the counter-insurgency crowd) is that, in the words of one blogger:

...Their musings tend to be a bit blinkered by self-referential navel gazing with an overemphasis on the U.S. military and what U.S. boots on the ground do.

Which, I would admit, has a bit of truth to it.

This point was found by the excellent Abu Muqawama, who, as a military professional, did amazing things with his boots on the ground. (Ed. note: this was a lot better than the pun I was going to make about his navel)

1 comment:

SunJun said...

I've heard that the intelligence agencies are using some sort of internal wiki to help build databases of information. Not sure how active the effort is and if key SME are involved, but I see a lot of benefits to it. (Kind of funny thought of a pair CIA and FBI agents engaged in an edit war though...)