Government Web 2.0 Tools & Social Media Conference

Open, transparent government takes on a new meaning when the people running it start using wikis, blogs and social media. You can see what’s happening on the cutting edge at the Government Web 2.0 & Social Media conference happening in Victoria, BC on December 9 and 10.

The event will provide a great forum for web-friendly government people to find out what really works in social media and what… well, might need some tweaking, based on real studies and analysis. The conference agenda looks promising:

“Learn what worked and what didn’t in Web 2.0 implementation case studies from the private sector — Universal Music and the NHL. Get strategies for security and privacy protection from Bell Canada. Hear from Adobe Systems and Wikipedia on how to leverage blogs and wikis to improve internal and external communication, departmental efficiency, and employee sharing.”

Not that long ago, government and Web 2.0 were mutually exclusive subjects. The inherent security and privacy challenges of online apps outweighed the benefits of open source collaboration. But the pendulum has swung the other way. Canada is embracing web 2.0 with enthusiasm, recently launching a comprehensive social networking capability to cover 58 departments (ITBusiness). Provincial and local governments are following suit and the trend is pretty much set.

So what specifically will participants get out of the conference? They’ll learn to use social media effectively in communications, demonstrate ROI for web 2.0 initiatives, get senior management to buy-in and engage staff, ensure compliance with privacy and security regulations and more.

As American president James Madison once said, “a popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both”. Government departments using blogs and wikis to communicate with each other and provide timely information and better interactivity is going to be a good thing for democracy.