Government Speak

Ever since “Loose Lips Sink Ships” and “Rosie the Riveter” the Federal government has been educating the masses about what is good and right for them and the country.  The approach has traditionally been top down, we know best, “Don’t Drink and Drive,” “Eat Your Vegetables,” “Don’t Do Drugs” or else. Today though government faces huge challenges.  Newspapers have seen their circulations decline as new media channels challenge their dominance. So too government methods of communications, their channels will see drop off when they do not adapt to the new media landscape. The new media landscape is about peer to peer communications, consumer ratings of products and services, the ability to submit a photo or story to a national news site and engage in real discussions with the provider about their services and expect or demand a change.

Government is no different in this way from the seller of any good or service. People pay good money and go thru an extensive selection process and therefore expect and demand good service and the right to have their say outside of every two or four year election cycles. Government needs to give up its anachronistic self-protective ways and open up its communications, be not afraid to be criticized, encourage other points of view.  When it does, it will see its influence increase, its cost of communications change, but its power to influence and co-opt others in communicating its messages to be profound.