During the past six months, the top five methods the public used to initiate contact with the federal government were:
- Websites (41%)
- Mail (22%)
- Phone (17%)
- Part of job (16%)
- In person (14%)
From a Gallup poll conducted in the USA during the summer of 2009.
This reinforces yet again that websites have become the main point of contact that citizens have with government – govvies, your web presence is the face of your org.
Yet in my experience, we’re still in this really weird space within govt, where “the website” is an afterthought — underfunded and under-resourced — despite its importance for our publics.
For instance, in our own communications shops, the centre of gravity tends to lie elsewhere (news releases anyone?). Our IT teams are more concerned with internal systems. Many IM folk still see themselves as the record-keeping function. So “the website,” blending all three functions, tends to fall through the cracks.
Sure we are starting to make a dint in this, slowly growing our web teams and maturing our web management practices. But we haven’t yet caught up to where our citizens are. Will we ever?