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Created

April 12, 2010

DirectGouv: Social media meets Government 2.0 communications

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Many government agencies are looking at ways to innovate with social media to increase transparency and participation between staff and the community. As I’ve expressed in the past through this blog and at various conferences, the real opportunity for public sector is to understand the characteristics of social media that make it so engaging and collaborative and infuse it into the core operations of government whether that is to deliver services, collect revenue or inform citizens.

One lesson from social media is the immediacy and richness of information that can be shared through digital channels. Blogs, online video sharing platforms and Twitter have demonstrated the power and desire by the public to share information quickly and easily.


An example of injecting social media lessons into achieving core agency missions is the French Government, who in partnership with students of EPITA (France Graduate School of Computer Science and Advanced Technologies) created a cross-platform widget, DirectGouv, to increase transparency and communication to the press community and thus, to citizens-at-large.

The widget was created using the same technology as BBC used to create its iPlayer and Tweetdeck used to create its super-charged Twitter client in order to ensure the broadest access by press/media channels to updates and information from the French government.

As in most social media innovations, the most relevant innovation is around how people engage and how technology enables this, not the actual technology itself.

In this particular case, the press get rich and immediate updates on the latest processes, initiatives and news of the French government. This is a commendable effort towards greater transparency and quality of information. Furthermore, it does it in a way that is personalized, yet fiscally responsible and scalable.

Other aspects to explore in such a model for information sharing would be how to collect and handle feedback and questions from the press and greater deployment of such a model directly to citizens in the context of creating a more informed community.

For now, since I share your desire to “see it”, here are some screen shots of the DirectGouv application.

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The DirectGouv application when it is first invoked. There is no instruction manual needed to operate this since it was designed to provide an intuitive experience. All that is required is an fluency in French! Key buttons link to latest videos, photos, president’s calendar, press releases and twitter-like news updates.

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An expanded view of the application that provides news excerpts. I think this leads not only to greater transparency but more equitable access to information both for large press organizations and also smaller media organizations which may not have had the resources to gather pertinent information in the past from different websites and paper channels. A similar challenge happens when governments try to communicate with citizens and ensuring citizens with the least amount of resources at their disposal can get a fair chance at understanding how the process of government works.

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What you see here are the results of a partnership between government and a select number of students from EPITA to imagine what government transparency could be with the latest technology out there and the governance and leadership to make it happen.

As I see more and more of these efforts globally, I gain renewed passion for how technology becomes the means by which people’s desires to help one another and collaborate can be fully realized.