Web 2.0, Social Media, and Mobile Technologies for Connected Government

Web 2.0, Social Media, and Mobile Technologies for Connected Government

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4570-6.ch001
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A connected government uses digital technologies for public administration to improve the democratic processes and provide electronic services to strengthen support for public policies. Also referred to as Government 2.0, it aims to harness the information revolution to improve the lives of citizens and enhance the efficiency of governmental processes. Some of the digital technologies and methods that advanced economies are already using to enhance the connected governance include mobile computing, internet of things, social media applications, and Web 2.0-related communication tools. Through the use of such technologies, governments and citizens can interact in real time, whereby citizens can voice their opinions and engage in the electronic participation. In this chapter, the author introduces Web 2.0, social media networking, and mobile technologies, and then, outlining the characteristics of a connected government, the chapter discusses how mobile, Web 2.0, and social networking tools can support governments to enhance transparency, openness, and effectiveness.
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Connected Government refers to the use of new emerging technologies for public administration in order to improve public services and democratic processes and strengthen the support for public policies. Also referred to as Government 2.0 (often abbreviated as Gov 2.0), it is about harnessing the information revolution to improve the lives of citizens and businesses and to improve the efficiency of the government. It aims to enhance the functions and processes of a government to improve the effectiveness, openness, and the interaction between the government and the general public.

Government 2.0 has a citizen-focused approach where citizens are active participants. It has evolved from Government 1.0 where technologies and websites were static, domain specific and Web 1.0 based, following government driven approach where citizens were passive receivers of one-way information.

In the Government 2.0 of today, we have interactive website portals that offer government services much more dynamically, using latest technologies such as Cloud Computing, Social Media, Web 2.0 tools (such as Wikis and Bloggs), and Mobile technologies, and with increased end-user community focus. Numerous benefits that technology based connected government provide include the following:

  • Simplified government structures and better collaboration between different ministries

  • Improved and transparent processes and better access to information for the citizens

  • Better interaction with other sectors of the society, especially the commercial and banking

  • Improved governance, more efficient use of resources and clear accountability.

World governments are at different stages of connectivity with the general public; as this is dependent on the amount and level of use of the available technology. It is for this reason that we notice that developed economies are well ahead of the developing nations. Initially, when the world wide web became available and popular with general public, each federal ministry developed their own static websites and provided information of a general nature such as the services provided by them, operating hours of their offices, contact details, etc. This was useful however, it was one-way communication, termed as Government to Citizen (G2C) interaction. With the development of Web 2.0 technologies, it became possible to have Citizens to Government (C2G) communication as well. This two-way interaction is referred to as Government to Citizens to Government (G2C2G) communication. This was both ways dynamic interaction where citizens were able to pay bills electronically, conduct electronic commerce (e-commerce) and make financial transactions electronically. Many world governments, usually the less developed nations, are at this stage of electronic government. With the emergence of Mobile Computing and Internet of Things (IoT) vision, electronic government advanced to the next stage that became known as digital or Connected Government. Majority of well-developed governments are at this stage. Here, citizens are able to access government services using, not only the computers and laptops but also, smart handheld devices such as mobile phones and smart watches. Through the use of Web 2.0 tools and Social Media technologies, further automation of government processes has become possible for a more open and transparent government and governance.

Some of the latest technologies that governments are using to enhance connected governance are:

  • Cloud Computing and related Fog and Edge Computing paradigms

  • Internet of Things based and Device Connectivity related technologies

  • Mobile Technology, Social Media and Web 2.0 based communication tools.

Key Terms in this Chapter

SOAP: SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a communication protocol that define an envelope that has rules for representing information. SOAP messages are sent using HTTP over the Internet.

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA): This is an architectural style for developing and integrating large software applications. The basic building block is a service that is independent and self-contained unit. An SOA based application system is a composite web service consisting of smaller independent services. SOA is becoming a highly popular approach to building large enterprise information systems.

WSDL: WSDL is Web Services Description Language that is used to describe web services interface that defines functionality and operations of the web service.

UDDI: This is acronym for Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration. It refers to registry that keeps registrations information describing web services and the URL destination addresses where services reside, to be accessed by consuming applications.

XML: XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, that is fundamental to web services. It provides a way to describe the information through the use of XML tags.

Connected Government (or Government 2.0): This is one step further to improve the provision of Government 1.0 by using the newer technologies (including cloud computing, Web 2.0, social media, IoT, and mobile technologies) to ensure that government’s functioning is more open and transparent and electronic participation of citizens is more enhanced.

Scalability: This is one of the often-sought property of software and hardware systems that can improve functionality, performance, and speed by adding or removing more processors, memory, and other resources. Scalability can be horizontal or vertical .

Mobile Government: Mobile government is an aspect of connected government that refers to collection of government services and applications that are only possible to be accessed by using mobile phones, laptop computers and other handheld smart devices (such as Notebooks, personal digital assistants, etc). For connectivity, wireless Internet infrastructure is used.

Web 2.0: It refers to a second generation of World Wide Web that is focused on the ability of people to collaborate and share information online. It refers to the transition from static web pages to a more dynamic Web. Here, Web 2.0 websites are much more dynamic for real time two-way interaction between the governments, general public, and communities of people.

Cloud Computing: This is an emerging and highly attractive paradigm for businesses and other large organisations. It provided a vision that is a specialised form of distributed computing environment that introduces utilization models for remotely provisioning of scalable and measured resources. Resources are often provided as services.

Social media: Social Media is an umbrella term for a variety of Internet based applications that allow users to interact with each other and with organization including the governments. It refers to web-based sites, applications and communication tools that enable interaction between people by publishing, sharing and consuming information.

E-Government (or Government 1.0): This refers to the provisioning of a government’s functionality and its services using the web and communications technologies including the latest software development and deployment paradigms.

Web Services: This refers to a distributed computing model that allows application-to-application communication. This also allows developers to add web services to their applications much more easily. Web services do not provide GUIs, instead these shares business logic, data, and process through a programmatic interface across a network thus establishing distributed computation.

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