E-Government or electronic government is the term used to describe the interaction between a government and its citizens over a digital platform. Through blogging, social networking, and various internet archives/services the government can have more of a two-way conversation with its people than it did in the past.
The benefit of this is a better and more truthful standard of democracy. Everyone, at some point, has had a rant about what they would do if they were president.
Now the people finally have a say, and their voices can be heard by someone more influential than their drinking buddy or squash partner. Due mostly to the internet, current affairs is no longer a playing field for the educated elite or powerfully rich only. The bar has been effectively lowered, allowing access to these issues from all walks of life.
These changes could improve government transparency and effectiveness. For example, the use of social networking sites to communicate with citizens is a way of meeting people on their own turf, so to speak. In doing so, the government can encourage younger people, who are traditionally less interested in politics to join the debate and get involved.
An example of this would be the State of Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who regularly uses Twitter to update those who follow her with news about the state cash flow and financial issues.
This type of thing certainly increases government transparency but it also works the other way. The government now collects huge masses of data on its people through electronic means. Through internet monitoring, CCTV coverage, license plate readers etc the government steadily increases the vast bank of information it holds on all citizens, thus making it more powerful.
The question is, can we tell them too much? The idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful government for some reason conjures up images of a Big Brother state, one perhaps more totalitarian than Utopian.