p2pnet.net News:- E-gov is a helpful tool among several options for reaching out to government, but it’s by no means the ‘killer app’ among them.
In fact, when it comes to ‘real time’ interaction, people still prefer to go to a government office in person, or to use the phone.
That’s the bottom line in a new Pew Internet & American Life report, How Americans Get in Touch With Government.
"Internet users benefit from the efficiency of e-government, but multiple channels are still needed for citizens to reach agencies and solve problems," it states.
People’s problem-solving capacities matter to successful outcomes with government, not a specific technology, says Pew, going on:
"As policymakers expand the offerings of e-government, they would be wise also to maintain and upgrade the other channels that citizens use to contact government, with a focus on how these traditional channels may complement e-gov applications."
The benefits of e-gov "involve expanded information flows between governments and citizens," says Pew.
"In addition, many citizens say the Internet helps in conducting their business with government. Americans with Internet access are much more likely to contact the government than non-Internet users, showing that Internet users have strongly embraced a new communications medium to contact government. The conveniently available information offered at government Web sites makes it easier for Americans to conduct their business with government by whatever means they choose. The ease of email makes it possible for citizens to fire off a missive to express a view about policy or highlight a problem with neighborhood garbage pickup.
"The upshot is that Internet users say that e-gov improves their relationship with government. It is important to note, however, that there is no independent effect of Internet use on the chances of success with government."
However, as might be expected, "The limits of e-gov have to do with people’s technological assets, preferences, and the wide range of problems people bring to government," says Pew.
"Not everyone has Internet access – about one third of American adults do not – which means that phone calls, in-person visits, or letter-writing are the available options to contact government for a large share of the population. Many people simply do not choose to use the Web or email to get in touch with government. In fact, those who contact government, including Internet users, are most likely to say they prefer to use the telephone to do so. And not all problems lend themselves easily to e-gov solutions. “Real time” interaction with government – the telephone or in-person visits – is preferred when people have urgent or complex problems to sort out with the government.