"Denver Mayor Hickenlooper/Gov. Ritter 9Health Fair" (2008)

Hickenlooper once again shows his playful attitude in this PSA promoting the 9Health Fair in 2008. Watch as Hickenlooper and the governor inhale helium, recite a line and then burst into giggles.

Yes, these clips are funny. But what's the point? Are Hickenlooper and other public officials using YouTube just to get a few laughs? The truth is, video-sharing sites and other Web 2.0 applications provide an innovative way for government to share information and connect with citizens, particularly younger generations, the heaviest users of 2.0 techniques.

Denver's "Cinemocracy" contest is a perfect example of how users of Web 2.0 are active participants in idea sharing. Through a simple online film contest, Hickenlooper and the Denver government are promoting an increased public awareness and involvement in the democratic process. Viewers of these public-sector YouTube sites can also engage themselves in the participatory nature of Web 2.0 by commenting on clips, either through a text or video response.

The ultimate success of these Web 2.0 projects has yet to be seen. Hickenlooper's site only has 17 subscribers thus far, and a low number of viewer comments. However, while his click counts remain low for the time being, Hickenlooper should be applauded for his creative use of Web 2.0 as a means of increasing dialog with citizens. Hopefully other public officials will follow suit with at least half the humor and ingenuity of this mayor from the Mile High City.