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The Paradox of the Interactive Web in the U.S. Public Sector

The Paradox of the Interactive Web in the U.S. Public Sector
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Author(s): Ines A. Mergel (Syracuse University, USA) and Charles M. Schweik (University of Massachusetts, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 24
Source title: IT Policy and Ethics: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2919-6.ch065

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Abstract

Web 2.0 technologies—what we prefer to call the “Interactive Web”—have become frequently used tools in the public sector. These tools include social networking applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Wikis, or RSS feeds. Public sector agencies are using blogs to communicate information on public hearings, wikis to coordinate work or share expertise and intelligence information, and social networking sites to communicate with citizens. These kinds of applications create a public sector paradox. On the one hand, they have the potential to create opportunities related to key public sector issues of transparency, accountability, communication and collaboration, and to promote deeper levels of civic engagement. On the other hand, information flow within government, across government agencies, and between government and the public is often highly restricted through regulations and specific reporting structures, and therefore usually delayed through the filter of bureaucratic constraints. The authors provide an overview of drivers encouraging the adoption of Interactive Web applications, but also transformative organizational, technological, and informational challenges ahead that might lead to resistance to that change.

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