My lasting impression is that while many government agencies that "get it" have adopted social media policies to begin using these tools, the progress and innovation that has taken place has been due to a small minority (although rapidly growing number of government stakeholders) who rebelled against the status quo culture of their organization in order to implement something new.
This theme was repeated again and again in the keynote speeches, but nowhere was it quite as obvious than in the talk by Price Floyd, Special Advisor for International Communication, Department of Defense. In his talk, Floyd reiterated the need to embrace social media tools as a way to engage a broader audience. He spoke specifically about how the lack of policy should not dictate a lack of action. I strongly urge you to listen to the presentation he gave to get a sense of how the U.S. Department of Defense was able to go from one extreme (the banning of most social media sites) to a very open policy allowing soldiers, civilians and their families to communicate using these tools and the implementation of these tools in strategic communications plans.
Finally, it's not just in the defense world that social media tools are enhancing communications. In what was one of the most interesting keynote speeches, Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS) in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), spoke about the GSA's initiative towards collaboration and engagement with industry and government subject matter experts in order to facilitate better and smarter acquisitions. Any company interested in winning government contracts should view Davie's presentation to learn more about the BetterBuy program and the collaborative wiki that seeks to engage all stakeholders earlier in the procurement process.
I left the Gov 2.0 Expo with a sense that there will be a continued and accelerated adoption of more Web 2.0 technologies by government agencies in the months to come. What started out as pockets of innovation and adoption seem to be growing into a mass movement where the benefits of engagement, collaboration and transparency far outweigh the detractors' arguments against these ever-evolving technologies.
Want to see more presentations from this year's Gov 2.0 Expo? Check out O'Reilly Media's YouTube Channel.