Few will argue that the ‘digital citizen’ is a reality today, but many will still cite statistics that show – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that phone-based communication still represents most of government interactions.
Whilst true, my problem with this is that I believe many infer this is the way it will always be… poppycock!
I believe that by 2020 phone-based communication will represent the lowest percentage of government interactions.
Don’t believe me?
- My usual weekly call to my mum (who’s 76) is now shortened because she knows what I’ve done having read it on Facebook. Some might say this is a bad thing. Why? For both of us it’s good, because now she actually knows what I do for a living!
- In Christmas 2010, I bought my wife an iPad. She was furious! She hates technology. I told her it was for her own good. Without it, I told her that she’d be frozen out of a large part of communicating with our kids. Fast forward to May this year. I was making changes to our telephone provider and knocked off the broadband as a result. I found myself laughing hysterically as she angrily demanded to know why she couldn’t access the internet to help with the kids’ homework. Then when she calmed down, she asked me if her iPad had a video camera as she’d heard something about being able to Skype with video…
- My daughter, who has just turned 11, recently Skyped her cousin in Uganda and conferenced in her grandmother (my mum). She didn’t ask me how to do it. I only found out because I overheard her talking to them behind her closed bedroom door.
- A couple of days ago, my seven year old son asked me whether my daughter’s new iPhone (well, it was new to her) was as powerful as a ‘regular’ computer… This took me back a little. You see, he’s thinking about whether to pester me for a computer for Christmas or an iPhone and, as he had just found out from his older sister that he can play ‘Moshi Monsters’ on the iPhone, and this is what he really wants, my answer to his question marked a change of tack in his pestering campaign.
We’ve forgotten that only five years ago most of us hadn’t heard of Skype (created in 2003), Facebook (created in 2004) or Twitter (created in 2006). And we hadn’t started to use on-line banking until recently (my wife still doesn’t). Like my family, the last five years have seen a transformation in how the mainstream communicates.
So what does this mean…? Put simply, it means that citizens, having already adopted these new channels in their everyday dealings with commercial organizations and in their personal lives, expect the same choice from government.
Do let me know your thoughts on this subject.
(David Moody is VP Product Marketing, KANA)
This is the first in a series of blogs on the Digital Citizen. The next one ‘The Emergence of the Digital Citizen – Part Two’ will be available in a few days.