I was in the office all of about five minutes today when someone thrust a copy of the Guardian’s ePublic section into my hand. Ever since Mike Cross (remember he’s Michael Cross online) started writing a column every Wednesday deep in the innards, I’ve become a regular reader (although I tend to read the FT on other days). Today though there’s more than a column, there’s a whole section.
And, on top of that, for some reason, I’m quoted in there in two articles. That’s quite gratifying – both of the articles quote me pretty much on the button and the tone of the whole section is supportive and aimed at moving the game forward. It’s great to see some good coverage around what is happening with online services as well as some prodding as to what needs to be done.
I love the picture at the top of SA Mathieson’s article – it’s a “roadsign” showing people what a route around government websites might look like. If I get time over the weekend, I’ll scan it in and post it here (I guess I’m allowed to do that). I especially liked the “no entry” sign! SA was apparently at a conference I did a couple of months ago and took note of my comments about killing off the relic websites and consolidating around a few great ones. He also quotes Fred Perkins, formerly of TSO, who (luckily? strangely?) seems to be thinking mostly along the same lines as me. Although, I have to say that the time when visits to a website to go down might be some time away. Still, I’m prepared to wait it out.
Dan Jellinek, in a separate piece, talks about the potential for mobile phone services and quotes me in one of my occasional rambles about the complexities and things we’ve got to sort out before we get too far (else we’ll have 2,643 online text services). It’s been 2 years since I first started talking about mobile government services, later than some, earlier than others, and we’re just starting to see some good ones come together. I hope that the news on those will get more coverage – there’s big potential there.
If you don’t have a copy of today’s paper and you’re in the business (I guess you must be, you’re reading this), then stop off at your newsagent first thing and pick up one before they send them back (assuming of course that the news of a right-thinking section on online government has not caused a rush and forced them to sell every copy). A rare thing. Balanced coverage with good messages. And I’m not just saying that because I’m in there.