WhiteHouse 2.0 — where is Canada?

In the President???s last Weekly Address, he called on government to “recognize that we cannot meet the challenges of today with old habits and stale thinking.” He added that “we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative,” and pledged to “reach beyond the halls of government” to engage the public. Today the White House is taking steps to expand how the Administration is communicating with the public, including the latest information and guidance about the H1N1 virus. In addition to WhiteHouse.gov, you can now find us in a number of other spots on the web:

The Whitehouse was already aggressively using internet technology to connect to citizens, continuing the high level of engagement established by Obama as a candidate. Today, they took it to a new level, joining Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to deliver information to citizens through new channels and to provide more ways for citizens to participate in the conversations of the day.

The Parliament of Canada should be doing the same thing. These services are inexpensive to use, and provide more channels of communication to citizens.

In fact, Parliament has a terrific opportunity here. Laconica is a Canadian-developed microblogging platform, similar to Twitter, that is free and open source. It’s also “federated”, meaning that users with accounts on any Laconica server can communicate with users on any other Laconica server. That is in stark contrast to the “walled garden” (or “walled ghetto”) of Facebook and Twitter.

I’d love to see the Canadian Parliament set up a Laconica server for Parliament and Government of Canada use. It could have the GoC look and feel and provide bilingual support and be accessible from within the GoC networks. This would open communication with Canadians and promote Canadian innovation, and demonstrate that the Canadian Government and Parliament really understand why they would adopt these technologies, rather than simply jumping on the Twitter bandwagon.

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