New IBM Report Highlights Rapid Adoption of Web 2.0 Technology Within Public Sector
The IBM (NYSE: IBM) Center for The Business of Government today announced a new report that examines the uses and benefits of social networks and blogging within the public sector. “The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0” details the growing acceptance of blogs as a tool for promoting both online and offline engagement of citizens and public agents.
The report, published by IBM and authored by Dr. David C. Wyld, Maurin Professor of Management and Director of the Strategic e-Commerce / e-Government Initiative at Southeastern Louisiana University, details blogging activities by members of Congress, governors, city mayors, and police and fire departments, and provides insights on how blogging is used within agencies to improve internal communications and speed the flow of information. In addition, the report assesses blogging in Corporate America, with a survey of top executives who blog, and the potential benefits and challenges.
The IBM report summarizes lessons learned by the pioneers of blogging in the public and corporate worlds. While the use of blogging by political candidates has been highly publicized, less commonly known is the use of this communications medium inside government. Marine General James Cartwright, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (and recently nominated as the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) has sponsored a real-time, secure blog to connect generals and warfighters. “The metric is what the person has to contribute, not the person’s rank, age, or level of experience,” said General Cartwright. “If they have the answer, I want the answer. When I post a question on my blog, I expect the person with the answer to post back.”
The blogging phenomena took off just four years ago and today more than 60 million blogs have been created -- making the blogosphere an astonishing 60 times larger in size than it was in its infancy. A blog refers to an online journal that can be updated regularly, with entries typically displayed in chronological order. According to the IBM report, blogging has moved from the purview of teens and college students to mainstream businesses and government. Every hour, more than 54,000 posts are made to blogs for a total of 1.3 million new blog posts each day. All told, the blogosphere continues to double in size every six months.
“We hope this report both informs and inspires public managers across government to consider ways of engaging in the new world of Web 2.0 to improve citizen access to public services, as well as to enhance democracy in our society,” says Todd Ramsey, General Manager, IBM Global Government Industry. “Blogging is no longer a fad. It is becoming a key tool in industry for communicating and collaborating both internally with employees as well as externally with customers. I anticipate that government agencies will continue to become rapid adopters as they see the power of Web 2.0 to help them address increasingly complex challenges that they face.”
Web 2.0 is characterized by the rise of user-generated content on the internet, where users no longer need to know anything about computer programming. Dr. Wyld’s report is a snapshot of the early stages of Web 2.0, of which blogging is but one of the most publicized technologies used to create social networks. He also points to other Web 2.0 technologies, such as the creation of wikis -- where thousands of users can jointly collaborate in creating something such as the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Another fast-growing Web 2.0 phenomenon is 3-D immersive experiences, such as Second Life, where users assume a “virtual identity” and have a personal avatar -- an animated character -- that can shop, play, and learn online. About 100 universities use Second Life to conduct online seminars. Companies use it to conduct employee meetings. Government may someday use it to deliver services to constituents.
To obtain a copy of the report, “The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0,” please call (202) 515-4504 or download a copy at: www.businessofgovernment.org.
About the IBM Center for The Business of Government
Through stipends for research, the IBM Center for The Business of Government stimulates research and facilitates discussion on new approaches to improving the effectiveness of government at the federal, state, local, and international levels. Founded in 1998, The Center is one of the ways that IBM seeks to advance knowledge on how to improve public sector effectiveness. The IBM Center focuses on the future of the operation and management of the public sector.
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