Its about ten years since the internet itself became a mainstream political issue. But I've noticed a recent change for the better. Leading politicians are no longer saying that they understand the web; they're showing that they understand it by using it properly.
First off, the two remaining Democratic Presidential hopefuls, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are on Twitter (the Republican nominee, John McCain, has an unofficial twitter stream written in the third person = FAIL). I just love the thought of the President potentially twittering from the Oval Office! Seriously, I wouldn't put it past Obama to continue his Twitter presence were he to get in. Let's not kid ourselves; every word that comes out of all three campaign machines is carefully chosen, "on message", and almost certainly ghost-written but tweets like this one give hint to the human being behind the facade. Long may it continue.
Incidentally, Bill Clinton's parody twitter stream is more entertaining than Hillary's real one...
Meanwhile closer to home, No.10 Downing Street not only has a presence on Twitter, but has also started a Flickrstream. It's always been possible to have a dialogue with TPTB, but hey now it's made available the way I like. And I can publicly hold them accountable, on my terms, with virtually no effort. Amazing, really! I wonder if this is a party initiative, or if it would continue if the Tories win the next election?
Separately, if you're from the UK and haven't checked out theyworkforyou.com, it's well worth a look. It's a phenomenal resource. I just used it to find out loads about my MP that I didn't know about, including his first speech in Parliament and every word he's uttered there since then. And I'll now be contacted when he talks about issues I care about.
In government, much as we find in the Enterprise, there will always be examples of individuals using the web well, and those who aren't quite as enlightened. The unfortunate demise of the Civil Serf blog comes to mind. But so long as there are people in government using the web well, we should encourage and support them.