One of the under-appreciated benefits of the Web is how much closer it has brought government to the people — and the people to government.
What I’m talking about is how we have access to an unprecedented amount of resources, tools and information from our respective governments. We even have access to people working in the government. And it’s all from our desktops and mobile devices, making it incredibly convenient and instantaneous.
Consider just two examples I’ve run into this week alone:
- Business.gov has a new Twitter account — Business.gov, the U.S. Federal government’s website link between government and business, is now on Twitter (@BusinessDotGov) as of last Thursday. Even more interesting, they followed me! Five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined THAT happening — them reaching out to me. No way! Yet, they reached out. They’re just getting their feet wet on Twitter and I look forward to their updates. Go ahead, follow them — I’m sure they will appreciate it. By the way, Business.gov is an awesome website — read my review from last year.
- British Prime Minister’s office is on Twitter — @DowningStreet is the Twitter account giving frequent updates from the PM’s office. For instance, 4 hours ago I learned that the Sultan of Brunei had visited 10 Downing Street. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “you could have gotten that information from Reuters — what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that @DowningStreet actually follows and replies to others on Twitter. For example, they recently responded to questions by a James Henley (@jameshenley), who describes himself as a 20-year old youth pastor, and to Nick Booth of the UK (@podnosh). I may not be a citizen of the UK, but considering the close cultural and political ties between our two nations, I am very interested in the British Prime Minister’s policies.
The Web and computer databases also make it possible for governments to intrude into the lives of their citizens. Who among us doesn’t feel unsettled by the thought of Big Brother examining our lives too closely? That’s definitely something all of us need to guard against happening.
But consider the progress we’ve made on the flip side. The Web is bringing us access to the people working in government. It brings us closer to the resources our respective governments offer. And it gives us a voice to communicate easily and quickly with those who are representing us in government.
I think that is admirable progress. What do you think?
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