opinion


What’s We-Government? Just Tweet the EU

EU1

Trending on Twitter isn’t a traditional political goal. Nor is having a Facebook page with thousands of friends.

But that’s exactly the point.  The European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe doesn’t want old school methods to talk to citizens or to broadcast its views.

Instead, it wants to involve every European in critical decisions that will help stimulate Europe’s digital economy – knowing that these decisions are tightly linked to the European Union’s entire future.

Lead by example

No slouch on Twitter herself, Digital Agenda commissioner and EC vice president Neelie Kroes(46,376 tweeps) is not alone among her peers to embrace social media.

This was fully in evidence last week during the Digital Agenda Assembly, a two-day EC-run conference where the #da12 hashtag reached out to an estimated 20 million people – that’s 4% of the European Union’s population.

Physically run in Brussels, the eight workgroup discussions – with topics ranging from broadband, cloud computing, e-commerce and entrepreneurship – were streamed live, tweeted, Facebooked and blogged.

We want you

But don’t call this e-government. This is We-Government, an emerging term for the use of digital social tools between citizens and governments to interact, co-create and solve problems.

Can such methods succeed? #da12 was not a discussion among mandarins. Stakeholders included a farmer leading a community fiber network build in rural England (see the excellent B4RN project), technology leaders like Alcatel-Lucent’s Ben Verwaayen and many others.

Nor was this political debate controlled via airbrush, satellite outage or truncheon.

Critics might say that no decisions were reached, that #da12 was just a talking shop. But that will only be true if the fundamental purpose of We-Government is ignored.

Now, it really is up to us.

  • testing me now


2 comments

  1. Chris Conder 26/06/2012 @ 7:59 am

    Very True
    WeGovernment. I like it.
    I was at the assembly and witnessed it all. There are a lot of people young and old, high ranking and grassroots who want to help Neelie in her goal to get every citizen digital, and working together we can make IT happen.

    I got the distinct feeling that our voices will be heard, but we must not forget the powerful telco lobby who want to protect their obsolete assets in the telephone networks. We need to be louder – and make it clear to the politicians exactly what is going wrong. We cannot get everyone online until everyone has a fit for purpose connection, and that means fibre.

    Moral and Optic.

    C’mon people, let’s light the fibre.

  2. las artes 26/06/2012 @ 9:18 pm

    The commission paper said that it had completed 34 digital agenda projects, but with 15 actions currently behind schedule, including the long-awaited directive on collective rights management.

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