The following is excerpted from a White Paper by the Digital Communities CIO Task Force, entitled Government 2.0: Building Communities with Web 2.0 and Social Networking. The full white paper is available for free download from our Resource Center.

Much of what we now consider to be Web 2.0 technology had its genesis in the desire of young people for self-expression, peer communication and a new way to stay connected with friends. For example, blogs were originally created to essentially be online diaries. Simply put, blogging was a way to combine a personal Web page with tools that made linking to other pages and ultimately applications easier.

Tools such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, wikis and others, further automated the process and made inclusion of pictures, video, music and other customizations much easier and helped further create communities of interest by linking "friends."

So the question for government is: Do these tools that were originally created to further self-expression really represent and signal a fundamental shift in how we create and manage our relationships and interactions or are they just modern vaporware, interesting applications that have little practical or lasting value especially in the public sector?

Seattle's Chief Technology Officer Bill Schrier, one of the leading local government thinkers on the potential of Web 2.0 in the public sector and a member of the Digital Communities CIO Task Force, has taken a thoughtful look at this very question. In his personal blog, where he identifies himself as the "Chief Seattle Geek," he looks at the potential Web 2.0 tools have for building better communities. 6


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