Gov 2.0: Taking a Look Back at 2009

I didn’t write a “year in review” post last year at this time, primarily because by the time I got around to it, everyone else had written theirs and I didn’t have much else to add. This year, however, I thought I’d get a head start by writing my post a little earlier. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the Gov 2.0 milestones of this past year (click the pic) that I found to be most significant and put some context around them too.

Click for the 2009 Timeline of Gov 2.0

Click for the 2009 Timeline of Gov 2.0

If Obama’s election in November 2008 signaled the birth of Government 2.0, 2009 was the year that it learned to walk. From the Transparency and Open Government Memo to the planning of next year’s Mapping Success: Can Government 2.0 Work for You? conference, I, along with many members of the Gov 2.0 Community, have had an alternately successful and frustrating (but never boring) year. 2009 went from unbridled optimism to eager anticipation to a little dose of realism, but through it all, the community of people and the relationships that have been forged across agency lines continued to grow  stronger.

That sense of community, that sense of, “we’re all in this together,” is one of the the five Gov 2.0 trends that have really emerged in 2009.

Gov 2.0 is driven by the community – I count among my friends many of the people I’ve met at various Gov 2.0 conferences, seminars, workshops, Twitter, and the blogosphere.  These friends include people from across all agencies, across the globe, other consulting firms, and members of the media. By and large, this community really came together in 2009, working together to share their stories and  help one another out.

Gov 2.0 isn’t just for the geeks and the Gen Y’ers – Traditional stereotypes were proven wrong time and time again in 2009. Whether it’s the “old” Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff tweeting, the “conservative” Department of Justice blogging, or the “bureaucratic” General Services Administration developing a website that asks the public to solve their problems, Gov 2.0 doesn’t fall into a neat little demographic of those who do and those who don’t.

Gov 2.0 is about more than just social media – As Tim O’Reilly told me in this tweet, Gov 2.0 is about so much more than just Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.  It’s about transparency, about employee engagement, about creating new technology, about collaboration, about, well, any of the hundreds of federal, state, and local government initiatives that have been using technology this year to transform and improve the way government works.

Gov 2.0 isn’t all sunshine and butterflies – Near the end of 2009, a group of Gov 2.0 enthusiasts got together and started talking about challenges, obstacles, and risk-taking that go on every day in the government. These issues are just now starting to be talked about and shared.

Gov 2.0 is still all about the mission – Under all the tweets, blogs, mashups, and wikis, the common thread through 2009 was a focus on accomplishing the mission. The most common questions my government clients asked me this year were, “What’s the business case?  What will [insert new techie suggestion here] actually do for me?” Despite all the pitches and publicity, all of these initiatives have all been put in place to help the organization accomplish their mission, whether that’s increasing awareness, educating the public, improving intel analysis, improving efficiency, etc.

For me, 2009 brought about a LOT of opportunities, but maybe even more questions for 2010.  What will be the new DoD social media policy?  What does the future of GovLoop look like?  How will the government procure contracts in the new year?  Can state/local governments leverage the experiences of the federal government to bring change to their organizations?  I’m not sure what the answers to these questions are, but I’m looking forward to being a part of the community that discovers them in 2010.

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About sradick

I'm an SVP, Senior Director at BCW in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (https://steveradick.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick

75 Responses to “Gov 2.0: Taking a Look Back at 2009”

  1. Noel Dickover Says:

    Hi Steve, terrific overview. For 2010, I might have also mentioned the Open Govt. Directive from OMB will affect things.

    • sradick Says:

      Thanks Noel! That’s a great addition of things to look forward to next year!

  2. Gwynne Kostin Says:

    Steve, thanks for putting together the timeline. It’s great to see the flurry of activity laid out. I do have a bone to pick, though.

    In your section on “unicorns rainbows and butterflies, not” you say

    the challenges, obstacles, and risk-taking that go on every day in the government…are just now starting to be talked about and shared.”

    That’s actually not true. The barriers and discussions may be new to some, but there has been a group of fairly high-level people who have been working these issues for almost a year now. Tech President published the Federal Web Managers’ Council paper on barriers to social media at Christmas last year. http://techpresident.com/blog-entry/social-media-and-federal-government-perceived-and-real-barriers-and-potential-solutions

    These discussions, policy creation, and legal hurdles jumped have been going on at federal agencies for 18-24 months. Ask our friend @levyj413 and others. The idea that we are just starting to discuss these ideas belies the fact that led by GSA, White House, Library of Congress, EPA, Commerce, etc., there are government wide terms of service agreements with services like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter since March, paving the way for engagement with citizens and stakeholders.

    The practioners in federal agencies have policies, have developed relationships and agreements with security and privacy professionals and are answering the hard questions that some are just starting to ask. The work has been informing cookies policies, procurement, rules on contests, the future open government directive, and more. You should check out http://www.webcontent.gov for additional information and resources.

    Am I saying that folks have all the answers? Heck no! But thinking and activities are definitely way past the “just now starting to talk” phase.

    You know I love you, man, but you got this part wrong. Good rest of list. 🙂

    • sradick Says:

      Gwynne, first, let me apologize for your comment being stuck in moderation forever. I didn’t even notice it in my “pending comment” inbox until now.

      I actually agree with your point though – my statement about the challenges, obstacles, and risk-taking should have been qualified with something along the lines of “…are now being discussed openly and across a much larger audience than last year at this time” – something like that. I didn’t mean to minimize the importance of the work that the Council has done over the last year, but the cool thing about 2009 is that those discussions about the policy creation and legal obstacles, that were started around this time last year extended beyond the initial pioneers and became more a part of the general Gov 2.0 effort. The paper you mentioned was undoubtedly one of the biggest milestones of 2008 – the broader realization of these concepts by the Gov 2.0 community is one of the milestones of 2009 and that’s a testament to the value of the work that you started (and continue to do) in 2008.

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    RT @sradick Gov 2.0: Taking a Look Back at 2009 | Social Media Strategery [link to post] [Great summary. Definitely exciting times]

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    Thanks to @sradick for Government 2.0: A Year in Review [link to post]. @ckras even gets a mention!

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    RT @wileyccoyote: Gov 2.0: A Year in Review ([link to post]) #gov20 – I… (via RT @mecredy @sradick) | Good to read

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    Reading RT @citizen_bob: GreatPiece: Gov 2.0: Taking a Look Back at 2009 | Social Media Strategery – [link to post] #gov20

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    Steve Radick (@sradick) gets jump on year-end blog posts with look at #Gov20 in 2009. Themes work beyond U.S.: [link to post] #opengov

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    Gov 2.0: Taking a Look Back at 2009 [link to post] //transparency, engagement, new technology and collaboration.

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    If you squint, look real close, you’ll find @govfresh on the timeline: [link to post] (#gov20 @sradick #haha)

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    RT @govfresh: If you squint, look real close, you’ll find @govfresh on the timeline: [link to post] (#gov20 @sradick #haha) True!

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    Great post by @sradick Gov 2.0: Taking a Look Back at 2009 [link to post]

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    Still looking for the so what… [link to post]

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    @sradick Nice look back [link to post] but you missed the significance of @timoreilly’s co-sponsor: http://bit.ly/4ycy4t

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    Gov 2.0: A Year in Review by @sradick [link to post] via@craignewmark’s squirrel 😉 #gov20

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    RT @dominiccampbell RT @annagabbert RT @sradick: Gov 2.0: A Year in Review ([link to post]) #gov20 who is doing a UK timeline?

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