A New View

A New View

by / January 29, 2007

By now, you've probably noticed that this issue of Government Technology looks different. Thanks to an extensive redesign led by Art Director Kelly Martinelli, your trusty GT mag has a fresh and vibrant new appearance. But that's merely the tip of the iceberg.

Inside you'll find the first of several new features we plan to unveil in the coming months. The Big Picture, making its debut on pages 10 and 11, is a monthly photo essay covering issues that impact your work. And our new Up Close section on pages 14 and 15 will regularly examine emerging technologies and applications.

In addition, we intend to devote more space to technological issues that are reshaping both government and society at large. Essentially we're redefining the scope of a Government Technology story-- just as technology itself is changing how citizens interact with each other and public institutions.

Evidence of change is all around us. MySpace and other social networking sites have dramatically altered how large segments of our population communicate. EBay and its imitators permanently changed the buyer-seller relationship. Now blogs and YouTube are tearing up longstanding conventions of how citizens obtain and share information.

Time magazine went so far as to dedicate its 2006 Person of the Year issue to the millions of Internet users who populate and contribute to the World Wide Web. Some of those individual contributions may be questionable -- a cursory search of YouTube's homemade videos turns up more than a dozen mock battles between Godzilla and various robots -- but collectively, they're changing society.

Obviously, these forces impact government. As citizens learn, communicate and organize in new ways, public institutions must keep pace. Public officials have done tremendous work in moving government information and transactions online. But their task becomes tougher as the Web 2.0 generation comes of age. What do you say when young adults ask why they can't text a vote for governor from their cell phone like they do for American Idol?

Government Technology's New Year's resolution is to help our readers make sense of these trends and their impact on government operations and institutions.

As I promised in this column a few months back, we'll continue to cover current uses of digital applications to transform government. But we'll also pay more attention to unconventional and emerging interpretations of "government technology."
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