Heading into the second decade of the 21st century, we constantly hear about how social media, geolocation, mobile apps and similar technological innovations are changing the way we interact with each other. But how are they changing the way we interact with our governments (particularly local governments)? Are they offering new opportunities for civic engagement? Are they changing the way residents view their role in local government, creating new opportunities for citizen involvement? Or are they cementing old ideas of citizens as customers by facilitating the delivery of government services?

These questions are of particular interest to those of us at the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership as we seek to help solve public problems by promoting citizen's participation in governance. We have created this blog to provide up-to-date information relating to what is being called "Government 2.0." We hope what you find here will help local governments and their residents make the most of the technology available for genuine citizen engagement.

New to Gov 2.0? Check out our foundational documents »

Who are You on Social Media

As government agencies become more engaged on social platforms they may run into identity issues.  In an article published on govtech.com, staff writer Eyragon Eidam explains:

Unlike official government websites that end with .gov or .mil, profiles created through third-party platforms can often look deceptively authentic, but are used to mislead the public and steal personal information.

Justin Herman, SocialGov program lead with GSA, said the registry will allow agencies a level of verification not found in the run of the mill Twitter and Facebook verifications.

To read more including the types of social media accounts the U.S. Digital Registry will verify click here. To learn more about the U.S. Digital Registry click here.

Contributor: Brian Stewart, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’17. 

Elections: Polling line app

If you had the option to not wait in line…well for almost anything, would you? While voting is simple, it is often inconvenient. Lines and wait times at polling places can make it hard to “swing by” the polls on the way to or from work. And inconvenience tends to have disproportionate impacts during elections. But can mobile technology help?

Julia McCandless, a contributor at govtech.com, shares with readers how a Voter Line Wait Application can help voters avoid the long lines:

Here’s how it works: Voters scan a QR code to launch the application, which then shows them if they are at a busy polling place, indicated by red, yellow or green. Voters can also view options for other polling places to compare wait times and are provided directions to get there.

To read more click here.

Grants Technology

The US government offers grants to a variety of organizations across a variety of issues.  But how do potential recipients even find out what’s available? A new website, GrantsCase.Com, aims to help remedy the “grant education” problem:

The new website, GrantsCase.com, is a collection of resources compiled by the two companies that will help remedy government’s education problem, Ha said. The site’s first section is a uniform guidance quick reference.

“The uniform guidance is grant reform and legislation that all organizations receiving federal funds need to follow,” Ha explained, adding that the information is typically available in paper form, but they’ve done the work to simplify and digitize it.”

You can read more here, and explore the grant resource website here.