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Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

How the White House's We the People E-Petition Site Became a Virtual Ghost-Town

BY Dave Karpf | Friday, June 20 2014

The White House once boasted that 5.4 million people have created We The People accounts, resulting in 9.2 million signatures. But the statistic only shows that there are less than 2 signatures per person, which means that the average user is signing a single petition and then never returning again. David Karpf explains how and why the White House's e-petition site has failed to take off. Read More

WeGov

New Platform Aims to Reduce High Failure Rate of Communications Initiatives in Emerging Economies

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 16 2013

Screenshot from the SPACE homepage

At a U.N. meeting in Geneva earlier this month, Amjad Umar told SciDevNet, an NGO that analyzes the impact of science on solutions for developing countries, that failure rates for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects in developing countries hovers around 85 percent. His company, NGE (Next Generation Enterprises) Solutions, has launched a beta platform that can cut failure rates and costs of ICT projects, and reduce the planning time to a few hours.

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WeGov

Rethinking Government Services Online

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, November 6 2012

Governments have been talking about how they will deliver services online for over two decades. (Anyone up for some e-government?) The sad truth is, at the national level, few users of online government services believe governments have succeeded - most citizens' experience with government websites are marked with frustration, a sense of loathing, and pretty much the opposite of whatever we imagined e-government would be. But there are three reasons why I waded through not one, but three lengthy UK reports about its vision, and now believe that if you care about government services online or better still, advise a government, there are some things worth knowing about the UK's new Digital Government Strategy. Read More

Turning the FCC's Not-So-Fun Twitter Town Hall Into a Teachable Moment

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 12 2012

In the wake of a Twitter town-hall style event with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski that drew jeers when Genachowski started late and initially did not use the hashtag his staff had been promoting for the conversation, General Services Administration staffers will publish updated guidelines on how federal agencies should manage events like these. Read More

Meet the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 23 2012

The White House this morning announced the 18 techies and experts who will spend six months working on one of five projects using technology to try and improve government as part of the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Read More

Census.gov's Data API is Now in Beta

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 7 2012

Census.gov/developers is now online, and the U.S. Census Bureau is offering developers beta API access to a summary table from the 2010 U.S. Census and to data from the 2010 American Community Survey. This makes it easier for developers to build web applications using Census Bureau data. Nextgov reported earlier this month that this move was on the way. Last month, federal officials announced a new strategy for digital government that calls for all U.S. agencies to provide API access to two "high-value" sets of data. Read More

How Do You Make a Wired Government Go Dark?

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 8 2011

The moment last January when President Barack Obama sent his very first tweet. Don't worry, though -- the POTUS is considered an essential employee; photo credit: the American Red Cross. We've talked about the general ... Read More