How the Web Polarized Politics

The Internet once promised a new era of communication and understanding. But Gerry McGovern, a Web content expert, says it's only served to deepen the divide. (

Gerry McGovern spends the majority of his time focused on what he calls "the impact of the content revolution."

As one of the worlds leading thinkers on the development and management of web content, McGovern is the author of several books, including "The Caring Economy," "Content Critical," and "The Web Content Style Guide."

But lately, hes narrowed his focus, looking at how the Internet shapes government interaction with its citizens—and vice versa.

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He has consulted many government agencies in the U.S. and abroad on how to improve digital communications, and his latest book, "Killer Web Content" (A&C Black), is due out this December.

On the cusp of the mid-term elections, McGovern sat down with Online Editor Debra DAgostino about Web 2.0, government transparency and why the "Wisdom of Crowds" concept doesnt work in politics. What follows is an edited transcript of his remarks.

CIO INSIGHT: With all this talk about Web 2.0 and shared, open networks, why isnt the government more transparent and open to opinions of its people? Shouldnt new technology make it easier to gauge overall consensus on important issues?

Not necessarily. That is to say, it isnt automatic. Too many people assume that technology will naturally make things better. But technology is neutral. On one side it has the potential to create a better government, but twisted in another way, it can serve to threaten democracy.

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