Open Data and Social Media Government

Andrea DiMaio writes — Why Do Governments Separate Open Data and Social Media Strategies? — about the need to merge open data strategies and social media strategies. He there complains about open data and social media strategies being treated as independent ones, which he believes to be actually related one to the other one.

I not only believe they should go altogether and hand in hand, but that their interaction defines different ways of understanding government or education. It always helps me to draw things and see what see what comes out of it:

Traditional communication Social Media
Closed data

4-year-term Democracy

Populism, Suffragism
Oclocracy, 5th Estate

Open data Transparency, Accountability
4th Estate, Aristocracy, Goverati
Participation, engagement
Collaboration, cooperation

Case I is definitely what we do have nowadays in most modern democracies: a democracy based on 4- (or 5-) years time span between elections, increasingly ruled by plutocracies bound to the economic powers.

Case II is common in plutocracies willing to be seen as cool. They “engage in the conversation” but, without the required information to feed a true democracy, it finally becomes a dialogue of the deaf. The governments perform populist acts and the masses believe they will be heard by shouting out the louder.

Case III is a genuine approach to openness, transparency and accountability. Nevertheless, without the proper communication channels, data can only be used (then exploited) by the “best” (in an elitist sense of the word), hence the ones that can interpret them and make their feedback get to the governments (the Goverati in its worst meaning).

Last, Case IV, is what we should we be aiming to. I definitely avoided labelling it Government 2.0 because it is surely not the “2.0” what matters, but its components: participation, engagement, collaboration, cooperation… all in all, democracy in its purest sense.

In fact, it is just another way to thoroughly look at e-Government, which means Government enhanced by means of Information and Communication Technologies. Or, if you prefer it, enhanced by means of Information (data, open data) and Communication (Social Media) Technologies.


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “Open Data and Social Media Government” In ICTlogy, #78, March 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from

Previous post: ITU, Measuring the Information Society 2010: the digital divide is not narrowing

Next post: Centralization vs. decentralitacion in Government and Education

2 Comments to “Open Data and Social Media Government” »

  1. Excellent post. I also think that there is a great potential to combine social media and open data. I started such a project for local politics in Frankfurt, Germany: We offer local political decisions with an improved email service and geo-referenced the data. But we also let citizens comment on decisions and offer to add own ideas and initiatives. Problem is that social media and open government contradict typical public institutions work. Open data is one step, but let people experiment with it (e.g. mobile applications), seems a nightmare for many. At least some local governments have started to build on their listening skills for example through Twitter.

  2. Pingback: Enlaces sugeridos por K-Government el 11 de Marzo, 2010 | K-Government

RSS feed RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Your comment: