Afghanistan Facebook groups, scientist-run climate-change blogs and YouTube spots on everything from the dangers of smoking to tax policy could make up the new face of the federal government as it charts its online image in the Internet age.
These and other strategies come from a $200,000 study commissioned by a government looking to better transmit federal policy to Canadians, particularly the young ones, and to gather feedback quickly and at limited cost.
The Conservatives, known for their restrictive communications policies, learned there is widespread support for Ottawa using collaborative, sharing technologies — known in Internet parlance as Web 2.0 programs — to more effectively reach the population.
“Adoption of Web 2.0 applications represents an opportunity to transform the ‘face’ of the government of Canada, to make it appear more approachable and more responsive to Canadians,” says the report’s summary.
The federal government is not alone in wanting to harness the power of computer programs bookmarked on millions of computers across the country.
Liberal MP Keith Martin recently handed over a proposal to his party’s leadership and election planners looking at how to use these popular websites and programs in the next election campaign.