Technology
March 15, 2013

From memes to social media, the technology that matters most to the public

It’s become redundant at this point, but it needs to be said: social media can be a little frivolous. From over-used memes to tasteless tweets, the internet has so much silliness that one becomes sceptical. Are there are any serious advantages to its use in the public sector?

There are, and IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge goes a long way to prove it, and to clear the smoke about just what technology can do to transform a city.  

A month ago, I wrote about Marco Rubio’s water bottle fumble, and how he was able to use interest in the viral video to gain support. He turned what could have been a PR accident to his advantage with canny leadership skills. The National Journal has run an update on the event, arguing that government leaders need to beware the meme. They claim that capitalizing on social media is dangerous. Memes have an expiration date, and so does anything connected with them.  

Certainly, fads die out. But that shouldn’t discredit the internet as a platform for serious communication. In all the meme silliness, it is easy to forget the huge benefits that connecting with the public through technology like social media, big data, newsletters, and online resources can bring to the public service.

When the city of Edmonton won IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge in 2011, it was able to make huge improvements to city safety and transportation initiatives through technology use. Some of this was carried out in the form of social media, such as the @yeg twitter accounts, where citizens could learn about snow and ice response in real time. Some of it was through revamped online resources, like email distribution, or through accessible big data.

Social media and user-friendly data were integrated into the communications methods used by the city. The public responded very positively to the new initiatives. Because they were user-friendly, practical, and updated frequently, they greatly improved the reputation of the public service’s ability to help citizens. In fact, because citizens are used to the rapid-fire nature of internet communication, they expected this from the city and found it useful for data to be presented in this fast and easy way.

Changing public communication also allowed for change within departments. There was an increase in collaboration among departments and colleagues as servants worked towards common goals.

IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge gave Edmonton the tools it needed to make technology work for the city. Check out the video on Edmonton here, and click here for the IBM white paper. Memes and political gaffs aside, there is no reason that the same platform used for so much silliness can’t also be used for real, transformative change. The public service of Edmonton was able to bring about remarkable change through innovative, interactive technology; there’s no reason that public service in the rest of Canada can’t, too.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Technology
 
Digital is a big component of government services today. The drive...
 
We are excited to share with you the August/September 2019 issue...
 
That hypnotically red eye. That eerily meticulous, methodical, and measured voice....
 
Have you ever thought of the role between racing and technology?...
 
In this episode of WRLWND Radio, J. Richard Jones talks with...
 
Recently, innovation and transformation expert, Max Valiquette, sat down with CPA...
 
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the Government needs to move...
 
In the private sector, the cloud is now the new normal...
 
Governments around the world are increasingly relying on cloud-based IT services...
 
For a few years now, there’s been a throwaway metaphor bounced...
 
In late March the ONS detailed the occupations in the UK...
 
Very soon, two of the world’s largest privately-held companies will go...
 
In this episode, J. Richard Jones talks with Jason Hermitage, Vice...
 
As the labour market shifts from full-time work toward short-term and...
 
In the past 18 months or so, new governments have taken...
 
Disruption, for the most part, always used to be seen as...
 
Could robot doctors be on the horizon? A study published February...
 
February 20, 2019, Aurora, ON – Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE)...
 
According to a 2018 study led by Dr. Michael McGuire, Senior...
 
When Mark Zuckerberg checked out of Harvard for California’s Silicon Valley,...
 
People already know the world is digital and that the best...
 
While most of my focus here is on IT and digitization...
 
When data.gov launched in May of 2009, the site seemed to...
 
We have been hearing quite a lot about superclusters. The Government...
 
My observation is people often take the view, “no one else...
 
Canadian Government Executive is pleased to announce its latest podcast –...
 
It is time to reboot democracy. This year, the French constitution,...
 
One of the benefits of living in a federation is that...
 
Urban officials dream of a future of “smart cities” that use...
 
On October 17, Fujitsu Canada, Inc. announced the ScanSnap iX1500, a...
 
We risk missing out on the potential “Artificial Intelligence” has to...
 
Tornado warnings broadcast a few weeks ago in Eastern Ontario and...
 
Artificial Intelligence is creating a great stir across many industries today....
 
A decade ago as a Presidential candidate, then-Senator Obama was asked...
 
The well-publicized scrap between Canada’s Auditor General and the Clerk of...
 
Cloud technology is a game changer! Successful implementation in both the...
 
Automated software applications (“bots”) have been weaponized to unduly sway public...
 
Governments everywhere are announcing new strategies for artificial intelligence. From France, which has...
 
Risk management is top-of-mind for many organizations and executives. It seems...
 
Digital government transformation is a massive opportunity. Advanced technologies allow governments...
 
As governments have sought to go digital, one of the most...
 
In July 2017, a local company unveiled a “virtual statue” on...
 
Talk of robots in the labour market usually focuses on their...
 
I was hosting a meeting recently when I received an urgent...
 
Cultivating more intelligent government has long been a hallmark of public...
 
Most articles you’ll read within the pages of Canadian Government Executive...
 
We are excited to share with you the latest issue of...
 
Federal efforts to increase the use of data to inform and...
 
Almost every day, I read about a new driverless car or...
 
Transforming the way services are provided by governments to match the...
 
Earlier this year the Canadian government took a crucial step by...
 
Emerging technologies are getting faster and smarter. Cognitive capabilities, robotics and...
 
For over two days at the end of January this year,...
 
Today, many connect with their banks, private companies, and friends in...
 
Canadian Government Executive is honoured to have Michael Wernick, Clerk of...
 
The adoption of new technologies provides many opportunities, poses unique challenges...
 
Does your organization have a very narrow view of what digital...
 
With businesses and government agencies increasingly operating in a highly information-based...
 
Blockchain. There’s probably no other technology trend in recent years that...
 
Over the last two years, an ever-growing number of organizations around...
 
Canadian Government Executive is excited to announce the agenda for TechGov...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to announce its first batch...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to welcome Microsoft as its Platinum Sponsor for...
 
What would it mean for tax professionals to boost their tax...
 
In this episode of CGE Radio, J. Richard Jones is joined...
 
In this episode, J. Richard Jones talks about the appointment of...
 
In the wake of the WannaCry outbreak, corporate executives, IT professionals,...
 
The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) is Canada’s One Voice...
 
Cybersecurity professionals have sounded the alarm for years, and they are...
 
CBC deserves full credit for exposing the presence of IMSI catchers...
 
Over the decades, technology has been grafted into governments around the...
 
Criminals have reportedly threatened to take over 250 million Apple accounts...
 
Risk is always present in any undertaking, no matter the size...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its 28 independent member countries...
 
Cost overruns have become institutionalized in the federal government, according to...
 
The latest issue of Canadian Government Executive is currently available. Some...
 
Bill Gates once said that “Technology is just a tool. In...
 
The last few months have showed a complex and potentially ominous...
 
While the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump is being buffeted...
 
When Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message”...
 
After shifting its focus away from manufacturing smartphones, BlackBerry  announced yesterday that...
 
As we draw closer to the end of 2016, Google, the...
 
The owner of Ottawa’s The Joy of Gluten Free bakery is not...
 
What would tomorrow’s cybersecurity look like? That’s an intriguing question to...
 
Cyber-attacks threaten Canadian individuals and companies every minute of every hour....
 
David Graham, Member of Parliament for Laurentides–Labelle, is on a mission...
 
Even as talks between the government and federal workers affected problems...
 
At last the the nostalgic fun of the CNE decends upon...
 
Just as the federal government has begun consultations on cyber security,...
 
Canadian healthcare organizations and businesses in the financial industry are the...
 
July 27 was pay day some federal public workers that finally...
 
The Phoenix payroll systems long-running technical glitches which have plagued public...
 
IBM Cloud is the first cloud provider to use Intel TXT...
 
The local electric vehicle industry just got a boost from Ontario...
 
The IBM cloud is introducing a new feature to securely backup...
 
Deploying and managing data centers is not just complicated – it’s...
 
The latest report from The Conference Board of Canada comes bearing...
 
Many technology industry and healthcare insiders believe cloud technology focused on...
 
There’s a fine line between confidence and naivety – a line...
 
In a little more than a year, Canadian banks and lending...
 
Digitizing certain aspects of the hiring process appeals to both employers...
 
The challenge is clear: a fast-paced industry pressures organizations to simultaneously...
 
Computer software company Adobe, has migrated more than 11 million pages...
 
In this episode we will explore new opportunities that have surfaced...
 
The agency responsible for safeguarding the Pentagon and several other buildings...
 
Companies and governments continue to bemoan Shadow IT. Many respond by...
 
By Jason Zhang  The best way to cost effectively manage the retention...
 
Government agencies, international businesses, as well as, European organizations that comply...
 
LAS VEGAS – Global cloud provider E MC Corp. , has launched a...
 
Some public servants will have to request their departments for emergency...
 
Copyright owners have struggled to protect their intellectual property since the...
 
Here’s some bad news for organizations contemplating projects that have something...
 
The adoption last year by the Canada Border Services Agency of...
 
A research project at that explores the design and feasibility of...
 
Two years ago, Bixi, a not-for-profit, para-municipal bicycle-share firm of the...
 
In January, the BBC and BuzzFeed jointly released an exposé on...
 
Years and years ago when I was unemployed, being able to...
 
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today begins a public...
 
Associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the king of Saudi Arabia,...
 
If the government intends to push economy-boosting measures, Canadian business leaders...
 
The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Lab is...
 
IT organizations, especially those in healthcare facilities and government institutions that...
 
It appears it was not just the Mounties that were affected...
 
Shared Services Canada appears to be in trouble again – this...
 
The Ontario government and telecom gear maker Huawei Canada yesterday announced...
 
Over the last decade we have seen many changes in the...
 
As the battle between the FBI and Apple continues to escalate,...
 
Faced with plummeting crude oil prices and the worldwide move to...
 
While Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous remark that “Plans are nothing, planning...
 
The idea of converged infrastructure and converged systems in the datacentre...
 
With the inexorable expansion of internet, and the advent of highly...
 
“I don’t think that backdoors into encryption is going to increase...
 
Do you think you are paying too much for your cellular...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is excited to announce that the...
 
The CEO of Google Sundar Pichai has come out in support...
 
A new study released yesterday, Securing the C-Suite, Cybersecurity Perspectives from...
 
Application, operating system, and device logs contain essential security information, but...
 
More than 3,000 lawyers working for the Department of Justice Canada received over $50 million...
 
As Canadians prepare to fill up their tax forms this year...
 
OMX , known for disrupting supply chain management primarily in the defence...
 
Open source was established around the ethos of sharing and collaboration....
 
VMware is zeroing in on DevOps and day-to-day concerns of IT...
 
One of Canada’s largest telecom players and a global tech giant...
 
The bloodletting at once-mighty Canadian mobile tech giant, BlackBerry continues as...
 
Earlier this week, OpenText introduced its Election Tracker ’16 . The Web-based tool allows election...
 
The latest Auditor General’s report on Shared Services Canada (SSC) and...
 
It was a sad day for taxi operators in Edmonton Wednesday...
 
Uber Canada is prepared to work under city regulations, however, current...
 
In December last year, a privately owned aerial drone crashed into...
 
Many women entrepreneurs in Canada struggle to access capital, technology, networks...
 
Yesterday, Ontario Supreme Court Justice John Sproat ruled that the Peel...
 
Microsoft, on Tuesday, ended support for older versions of Internet Explorer...
 
By: Patrice Dutil The MindLab meets every expectation you might have...
 
As the adoption rate of big data technologies among Canadian companies...
 
By Gregory Richards A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute suggests...
 
Written by Jason McNaught It took approximately 18 years for carbon...
 
The good news is that the Government of Canada recognizes the...
 
Tip #1: Combining government departments and changing them into “themes” wouldn’t...
 
Last week Alexandra Sweny wrote about the MTLWiFi project [http://itincanadaonline.ca/index.php/mobility/1240-when-you-re-downtown], an...
 
When you haven’t built warships in decades and must wrestle with...
 
It’s time to sound the alert about the rise of robots....
 
Westminster governments are interesting because so much of what happens in...
 
It all started when I observed some managers using a calculator...
 
By the end of July 2013, the Canadian government aims to...
 
Have you ever asked if you’re in the right job or...
 
Computing is now no longer done primarily on computers.Technology now floats...
 
Budget cuts to safety services undermine value for cost in the...
 
Memes exemplify how internet silliness leads to doubt about its advantages...
 
When confronted with concerns about technology, do you ever dismiss these...
 
Open data and Canada’s technological future were the topics of Minister...
 
The greatest strength of web 2.0 is its user accessibility, but...
 
Technology, and specifically open data, may be the most promising lead...
 
Gone are the days when managing a data centre meant focusing...
 
During the month of October tens of millions of viewers will...
 
For Egyptians and Mexicans, this past summer showcased the imperfections of...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.5 May 2007 Hollywood’s version of the "IT guy"...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.1 January 2008 In an effort to be lean...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.1 January 2008 Richard Dicerni is deputy minister, Industry...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.6 June 2007 Ken Cochrane was on the stump...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.4 April 2007 There are, in the specialized world...
 
Ontario’s innovative Traveller’s Road Information Portal – known as TRIP –...
 
This is old news, but still relevant, because government still isn’t...
 
La récente campagne électorale américaine nous a permis d’assister à une...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.7 September 2007 It’s been 20 years since we...
 
Quote of the week “At the Queensland Police Service, we will...
 
Quote of the week “It’s hard to know exactly where we...
 
“I wanted freedom and fulfillment for everyone in the (Edmonton) IT...
 
Ottawa – A leading Internet authority is joining the call for...
 
Les récentes constatations d’un poids lourd de la recherche, la société...
 
The evangels of e-government can’t be pleased with some recent findings...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.7 September 2007 Most likely, you’ve been wondering about...
 
Quote of the week “Networking is not about hunting. It is...
 
A combination of new technology and new processes is changing the...
 
If 2012 marks the surpassing of compact disks by digital music,...
Digital is a big component of government services today. The drive...