Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Arianna Huffington on Government 2.0

When it comes to information and technology, Arianna is very un-FTC, at least according to her latest post:
Watching the news, it's easy to conclude that "Yes We Can" has been replaced with, "Actually, On Second Thought... We Probably Can't." We can't plug the damn hole, we can't get rid of too-big-to-fail banks, we can't pass an adequate foreclosures bill, we can't pass an adequate jobs bill. The list goes on and on.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for optimism -- even when it comes to the way our government is being run. One of these reasons is Tim O'Reilly, the tech guru CEO of O'Reilly Media. Among other things, five years ago O'Reilly coined the term Web 2.0. And now he's at the forefront of a movement to apply the concept to the way our democracy is run: Government 2.0.

I talked with O'Reilly at last week's Personal Democracy Forum in New York, a don't-miss annual gathering focused on the intersection between government and technology.

We talked about the need to create a new relationship between We the People and those we elect to represent us -- and the crucial role technology can play in it. For O'Reilly, Government 2.0 isn't about every office in D.C. having its own website and posting reams of data. It's about, as he put it in a blog post-cum-manifesto, "a new compact between government and the public, in which government puts in place mechanisms for services that are delivered not by government, but by private citizens."

It's about government as a facilitator, laying the foundation for innovation in self-governance. It's "government as a platform."