Federal Webmasters Onboard for Online Government

Another step toward nerd rule?

Looks like the folks who run federal websites got the idea of more effective and honest government years ago, but didn't get heard till recently. The deal is that as a community, we're ready to seriously move ahead toward networked, grassroots democracy. That means increasing involvement from the citizenry and public servants, probably in many public/private partnerships.

Micah Sifry of TechPresident.com just published a letter from them, “Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Govt White Paper.” The bottom line:

President-elect Obama should be able to promise the American people that when they need government information and services online, they will be able to:

* Easily find relevant, accurate, and up-to-date information;
* Understand information the first time they read it;
* Complete common tasks efficiently;
* Get the same answer whether they use the Web, phone, e-mail, live chat, read a brochure or visit in-person;
* Provide feedback and ideas and hear what the government will do with them;
* Access critical information if they have a disability or aren’t proficient in English.


Tom Watson points out:

The new Administration should "need to build on the groundswell of citizen participation in the presidential campaign and make people’s everyday interactions with their government easier and more transparent," says the paper.

...

Running this gargantuan online network means empowering a vast cadre of managers to do their work — it means giving them the power to make decisions about e-mail and social media, for example.