I’ve seen Tweets all morning coming out of the Personal Democracy Forum Conference about New York City’s 311 service. Looks like NYC 311, in addition to being on the web, is now also on Skype (user name is nyc311) and on Twitter.
I’m following @311NYC on Twitter now, and I’ve also added it to my Skype contacts (not sure yet if they support voice/video calls, or chat).
Now, if they’d open up their 311 service via an API (like Washington DC is doing), then they’d be cooking with gas. Good stuff! Hope to see more of this.
If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”
– Lord Kelvin
There is a lot of exciting news lately coming from state and local governments about innovative new uses for social networking and Gov 2.0 tools. Even the smallest burgs and hamlets in our fair nation are on Twitter, and even the lowliest first-term legislator has a Facebook page – sometimes before they have an office assignment.
But before governments go too far down the road of building Gov 2.0 tools into their business processes, it may be worth exploring if conventional performance measures are adequate to measure if (and by how much) Gov 2.0 tools are improving the job being done by governments. As Lord Kelvin said – “To measure is to know.”
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s many governments implemented new e-Government services for their citizens, and reorganized service delivery around Internet-based functionality. Government performance measures were infused with terms like unique hits, click-troughs and the like to more adequately track performance through this new channel.
Does the advent of Gov 2.0 and the increased use of social networking tools warrant a re-examination of the ways that governments evaluate how good a job they are doing? How do you measure customer satisfaction when a government interacts with a citizen via Twitter, or leaves a comment on a blog or Facebook page?
More importantly, how do government measure (and capture) the cost savings that may be brought about by using social networking tools, and approaches like “Wiki-Government“?
Some things to think about as Gov 2.0 gets more mature, and more widely used.
The State of California has posted a comprehensive Twitter directory listing state agencies and officials (include both federal officials and local officials) that are using Twitter.
I’m not aware of any other state that has provided such a comprehensive listing of public sector agencies or officials using Twitter. There are some notable Twitter / Gov 2.0 rick stars in this list, including Governor Schwarzenegger (with almost a 1/4 million followers), and Congressman Mike Honda, who recently announced a project to “crowdsource” the rediesign of his official site.
I guess the old saying “…as California goes, so goes the nation…” applies here. Hey, other 49 states – more of this please!
(Hat tip to @staceywalker for the link)