Digital media opportunities – Part 8: e-politics and e-government

Where there are people, you get politics. It is thus not surprising that when enough people are on the Internet, e-politics become a tangible force.

Three examples come to mind: the GetUp grassroots political movement in Australia, the Obama election campaign which leveraged social media to the hilt, and the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day campaign which put many a nose out of joint worldwide.

GetUp is a lovely example of how to turn social subversion into a force to goad the politically-apathetic to action. It is also very Australian (ie the model is not necessarily directly transferable to other cultures).

There are various official e-government initiatives all over the world of course. I know both the Australian and Singaporean governments have mandates to e-fy much of their services.

The opportunities lie in consultation and development.

  • Deploy mechanisms to enable e-politics – how to leverage online social media and other (hybrid) means of creating awareness of and engagement with a cause.
  • Deploy mechanisms to enable e-government.
  • Development of peripheral services around e-government such as data-mining services, information visualisations, watchdog systems, and platforms for debate and discussion.

The challenge is to see beyond the simplistic “just make a website” approach. Real e-enabling means putting existing services online AS WELL AS leveraging the technology to create new ways of interacting and enrichment of the traditional elements of politics and government.

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