Gone are the days when the idea of “no wrong door” in terms of citizen access to government services prevailed. There is now enough observed data to declare that there are cost advantages to using the internet over snail mail, and that citizens may even prefer using an electronic medium. The Danish have branded this transformation in thinking “Government 1.5.” While there is no question that the process had to evolve naturally, the overwhelming consensus is that government information is accessed by the public most easily via the internet in a social-media like format.
What does this mean for the future development of government services? As with any process of innovation, once a solid direction is both found and proven to be successful, the process of refinement can begin. Social media, although it has been in existence for roughly a decade, will undoubtedly begin to transform itself according both to user input and to the needs of its biggest advocates. Social media has always been inherently adaptable to the needs of governments because it enables the spread of relatively complex or nuanced information across a very wide group of constituents.
The next wave of development in government information development will undoubtedly center on creating tighter and more efficient information organization and dispersal processes. In other words, the popularity of apps as streamlined and efficient information gathering tools will only increase in importance in helping people locate exactly what they’re looking for in a much shorter timeframe.
However, it is unlikely that any governments will return to the days of slow, cumbersome, and costly information processing methods. The internet remains one of the best tools for information dispersal primarily because it it so changeable. Fixes and tweaks can be made instantaneously, and do not depend on an elongated command structure or decision making process. The internet is designed to relate with any user, at any time, anywhere. That kind of all-inclusive service is simply unprecedented in the history of government services. By continuing to focus on adapting online tools to suit the needs of the users, governments will ultimately save money while increasing their influence.