What they have figured out at the digital Downing Street

Number 10.gov.uk, the British Prime Minister’s website, is apparently doing something right, but what?

The reason why I’ve started to look closer at the Number 10 is that this particular website has been mentioned by a few Norwegians involved in politics I’ve talked to lately as an example of a political site that is modern and inspiring.

I’ve visited it on and off in the past, but I haven’t followed it closely. But my first impression is a very clean site, where it is easy to find things. It is still in beta, almost half a year after it was released, and is running on WordPress (open source software), the same platform as my blog.  New Media Maze and Puffbox built the site.

It has a Twitter profil, Flickr feed and a YouTube channel – in other words, politics 2.0. A nice feature is that content from all these channels has RSS feeds, and you can share all the content. We can also find a Number 10 podcast, as well as a webchat (the most recent webchat, Jan 20, was about the white paper on social mobility with Liam Byrne, Minister for the Cabinet Office).

I also like that Num 10 seems to take bloggers seriously (please correct me, those who have a different opinon), for example here, at the New Opportunities site:

And I know from my own experience that Downing St answers requests on Twitter, which neither Obama or Norwegian Labour politician Helga Pedersen does.

Downing Street seems to be a fancy broadcast machine, a bit sterile though, with some interaction with citizens, (at the Communication site,  you can ask the Gordon Brown video questions or create a petition (originally built by mySociety, which I’ve written about before).  But no comments on articles or trackback. So no blog feature, which Obama is running at the White House (eh, no comments here either…)

But why have they hidden this useful site, Directgov– “direct service all in one place” away at the bottom?

So is this the best we can expect of an official web 2.0 governmental sites these days? Seems like it. But I’m sure we’ll see some innovations soon, maybe within Obama’s first 100 days: “Use cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation for America’s citizens.”

One thought on “What they have figured out at the digital Downing Street

  1. Pingback: lecture 4: post-parenthetical communication - remixes and mashups « HUIN105 - spring 2009

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