The effective use of social media on the Web was likely one of the top three elements of Obama's path to victory. Government agencies are embracing social media tools, such as blogs, wikis, social virtual networks, podcasting, Web video and more, to better communicate with one another and their constituents. But many agency managers continue to restrict employees' access to the Internet, preventing them from establishing connections and sharing information that could improve their job performance. My hope is that President Obama will encourage agencies to remove these restrictions so that government can operate more collaboratively and transparently.
In the book Future Living, Frank Feather makes the startling claim that the shift to a digital or information age marks a reversal of the industrial revolution. The rise of factories in urban centers caused artisans to leave their dwellings in search of work and wages. But the Internet and its tools for anytime, anywhere collaboration and interaction is sending today's workers back home to earn a living.
Thirty-year-old author Timothy Ferriss, in his bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek takes this notion one more step by mapping out the path he took to secure a substantial income while working half a day (yes, for the entire week) and taking "mini-retirements" to live in a variety of global venues.
So what are the implications of this profound shift for government?
The answers to this question are the subject of my posts here on MeriTalk and over at the Generation Shift blog. Over the next few posts, I will explore three areas that I have been blogging and speaking about for the past few years:
As a teaser for those posts, let me make some bold claims:
In fact, it may not be unrealistic to speculate that the number of employees working on government’s direct payroll will be cut in half over the next decade as boomers become contractors and the millennials and generation-Xers demand greater flexibility in their income-producing activities.
While participating in a recent panel for the Mid-Atlantic Telework Advisory Council, I suggested to the audience that we must give serious thought to the world in 2020. Where will government be in 12 years, two or three presidential administrations from now? How are seismic demographic shifts, environmental concerns, collaborative technologies and globalization going to alter government's engagement with its constituents?
I hope that subsequent posts will stimulate some dialogue as we envision our government with 20/20 foresight.