Now here’s something I really like, and it feeds into a couple of things I’m working on at present, and my general interest with the challenge of creating communication networks amongst groups of online users for productive outcomes.
Let’s Talk America is a nationwide movement that will bring Americans from all points on the political spectrum together in cafes, bookstores, churches and living rooms for lively, open-hearted dialogue to consider questions essential to the future of our democracy. Let’s Talk America reconnects with the ‘town hall’ meeting spirit that’s the lifeblood of our democracy.
Why is that many of us battle away on worthy and elegant online projects, but can’t even attract the attention of a passing taxi, let alone the media or the powerful? Yet an overweight dawk can have America’s media elite on the phone. Judge for yourself. Check out the video. I’m rummaging through the MP3s and hooking up the webcam as I write.
The National audit office has released a report examining how government departments measure the efficiency and effectiveness of their e-government initiatives. They failed miserably:
Only one agency had conducted a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the Internet was the most effective form of delivery for their online service. No agency had calculated an expected return on investment for providing the service. Despite having information on both costs and benefits, and having outlined this as one of the principles to be used in determining whether a particular service should be provided online, other agencies did not include a cost-benefit analysis in their business cases.
Despite including evaluation plans in their business cases, most agencies had not evaluated their website redevelopments or new online services, although most planned to. Further, agencies did not generally have an integrated monitoring and evaluation policy for their Internet service delivery.
Overall, the ANAO concluded that agencies’ methods were inadequate to assess whether their delivery of government services and programs through the Internet was efficient and effective.
All a bit of a worry, given the Federal Government spends something like $4.6 billion (yes, that’s b for billion) on IT each year.
I’m clearly behind the eight ball on this one, but I’ve only just discovered why a bunch of arts organisations have progressively been asking me to replace government logos on various web sites I look after for them.
Turns out in 2003 the Federal Government decided to ban logos for its 100 or so departments and agencies. So no longer would they have their own individual branding, but instead have a single common government brand.
Here’s some good commentary on the notion. How bizarre. Let’s remove the last vistage of art and design in government, and ban departments from using creative, visual communication to project their values to the community.
Instead it’s all been replaced with the ultimate in blandness.
Charles Wright in his Bleeding Edge blog points out the US Can Spam Act seems to have had the opposite to the intended effect. Spam levels are up 20%, and the major spammers are apparently completely unpeturbed.