Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Government leaders can take specific steps to maximize performance in a 'pull' information economy.

One of the two implications of the paradigm shift I wrote about was the movement from an information economy in which providers pushed out their content to one in which consumers pulled it into their feed.  This movement started with the advent of RSS feeds and has hit a high point in link shortening and sharing on Twitter and facebook.

The data that prove this shift are all around.  in 2010, Facebook surpassed Google in overall monthly traffic.  And look at these charts of Twitter traffic (click for higher-resolution images in a new window):

Budget chart Shutdown Chart

The reason that Google traffic is ebbing while Facebook and Twitter are waxing is that Google is like a translation service that helps visitors move an offline conversation ("Hey, did you hear about Egypt?") into an online conversation (Search for "Egypt" and read on).  Increasingly, however, people are starting their conversations online, and they are including in their conversations links to supplimental information.  In short, they are making full use of the hypertext environment that gives rise to the Web.

So what can government managers (or managers of any large organization) do to take full advantage of this pull information economy?  Here are three suggestions, and I hope you add more in the comments section:

  1. In all offline venues, give links to your own feeds, including RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and any other automated source of digital content.
  2. Format all digital content to fit into the parameters of popular syndication: That means: short headline, brief introduction, small thumbnail image.
  3. Find the communications nodes for your content and allow your own employees to join their network (or become nodes themselves!).

That final recommendation segues into the other major paradigm shift: highly distributed knowledge management.  I'll write about that shortly.