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3 uses of technology for enhancing citizen engagement

March 21, 2013

Government 2.0 initiatives are about improving citizen engagement and operational efficiency. By integrating technology into more aspects of state, county and town government, these offices can improve transparency and open government efforts, bringing citizens information faster and at less overall cost. However, local councils have to understand the technology they are using in order to maximize the benefits and really embrace the government 2.0 trend.

According to Government Technology, citizen engagement is one of the most important benefits that can be achieved through gov 2.0 efforts. In order to maximize engagement and see a return on the investment in these technologies councils have to understand the various ways to use them.

Communication
Technology allows government offices to better communicate plans and the results of those plans. With enhanced agenda management solutions, local governments can provide citizens with up-to-date meeting agenda data and streamline the results of meetings. Additionally, tools for webcasting meetings allow councils to broadcast public meetings to a much wider audience, enhancing the public's ability to "attend" them. Communicating data clearly through high-quality transmissions is equally important.

Easy-to-use portals
Additionally, government offices need to ensure that the technology they implement makes the information easy to find for the public. Automated organization and archiving will generate the data and place it in the portal, but a website or a centralized server has to be easy to navigate. Otherwise, the data may as well not be on it in the first place, eliminating the benefits of transparency and open government efforts. This includes having the right infrastructure to support constant uptime and swift download speeds.

The right metrics for data use
Finally, a government office has to ensure that it provides all the information necessary for the public to make use of that included data. If critical information is withheld, or worse, lost, then citizens won't be able to do anything. Data on legislative trends and other analytical information will assist the public in understanding bills and why they passed or were rejected, and gain a stronger grasp on budget information.

Technology is the wave of the future in business, education and personal lives, and the government is no exception. Embracing it will help even small town councils improve operations and enhance the respect of their constituents.