Federal Computer Week: Web 2.0 for feds

A few weeks ago, Federal Computer Week, had an article about the role Web 2.0 may have in the federal government. Is there a place for wikis and other tool now included in most modern content management systems in the federal government?

The article hints that Web 2.0 may have place more behind the scenes then in public view.

Other officials are beginning to recognize the value of government wikis. One crisis management expert said he thinks wikis and other Web 2.0 applications could become useful resources for homeland security and disaster relief officials. W. David Stephenson, an Internet strategy consultant and principal at Stephenson Strategies, said that before another disaster such as Hurricane Katrina hits, the government should set up a wiki behind a firewall to coordinate relief efforts.

The intelligence community recently acknowledged its interest in using internal wikis for information sharing. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) hosted a public roundtable on Intellipedia, which is an adaptation of Wikipedia, the online, self-correcting, self-evolving encyclopedia that a community of Wikipedia users updates regularly.

Now you may ask why would the government use Web 2.0 internally and not in public view? In my opinion most of the Web 2.0 features allows individuals to express themselves in a larger collaborative group. However, when you visit your government you're not looking for the personal opinion of an a single government worker but the "official" stance taken by the government. What good is an employee's blog about his disagreement with a newly enacted law when in the end it's a law that must be followed?

Then again, while I don't need to see the typical government employee to have access to Web 2.0 tools in the public, I still would like to see our elected officials and political appointees to have their blogs online. I think people are tired of seeing the politicians giving out one line campaign slogans on the television. I think newer generations want to see and hear more substance and consistency from their elected officials. What better way is there to understand where a politician truly stands than a review of his or her archived blog?

Overall, the government here in the United States is likely to start out small with Web 2.0 features. Perhaps government finally starting to provide RSS feeds is a big enough step for a bureaucracy.  Do you want to hear more or less from your government?