Mashable has a great post on Government 2.0 today. The post talks about Government adoption of Social software, and social media tools such as Twitter. There are many examples in the UK of areas of Government using Twitter. I currently follow various local councils on twitter, along with DowningStreet and CommunitiesUK. These provide a much easier platform with which to interact with Government. Also, having ministers like Tom Watson on Twitter, provides Government with a much more social and friendly interface. It is easy to interact and send messages to real people, rather than to email addresses or web forms. When you get to know someone, including miscellanous details about their lives (on their terms rather than through newspapers), it enables more empathy with them and understanding of their views.
There are lots of US Government agencies and representatives on Twitter with a great list at fly4change. Using this medium as a communications tool and to engage with the public in conversations has the potential to change perceptions of Government departments and Officials. As comcastcares, and others have demonstrated, the more social and real the method of communication, the more understanding, patience and respect people will have for the message. As such, an increase in the use of social software and social media to interact with the public, has the potential to transform the current cynical view many people have of politicians and civil servants. Once Government can be seen on a more human level, hopefully the appreciation and respect we have for official entities will increase, allowing for a much more grown-up discourse.