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Public Servants That The Web Built

Friday, October 8, 2010
There is no way to speak about this without sounding completely self-absorbed so I apologize in advance, but during times of self-reflection one can't help but speak about themselves a little bit.

I have had the good fortune of speaking to public servants across the country, to share my story with them, to inspire them and be inspired by them. Many of the people I have met have told me in passing that my story is something special, or that I am somehow a different breed because I have been able to find success through adversity where others have failed.

But I respectfully disagree.

My path is not an anomaly; it's the new norm.

Look around. People who have used the web to their advantage are having success in many different sectors. I personally have encountered many of them. None of those people think my success is all that strange. In fact to the majority of the people with whom I work on a regular basis and within the communities of which I am a part, I am pretty much old news.

When I first started finding my groove writing this blog I expected people to read what I was writing but I've given that up a long time ago. I gave it up when I found myself surrounded by a community (W2P) enabled by a tool (Twitter) to rapidly share information, rally resources, and produce outcomes. These people understand that the web is transformative; they understand that if we are to maintain our relevance as a public institution, they must actively search out answers to problems that may not even exist yet.

This group of public servants, and there are many of them out there, at all levels of government, may not have explained how the web is revolutionizing the social order; or how online video is driving global innovation; or articulate just how compelling data can be. But, we have made a contribution that is, to my mind, no less important.

One that should not go unnoticed.

We blog, twitter, watch online video, link data and ideas.

Not only are we starting to govern by network, but are also fast becoming a hyperlinked public service.

We are the future of open government, open data and public sector innovation.

We are here learning our trade, stretching the organization, and building the platform for the next generation of the public service.

We are the public servant that the web built.

[image credit: JPhilipson]

(ps - the winner of the tickets to see Dan Heath is Dana Cooper. Please send me an email and we can coordinate how to best get the tickets to you.)