Local governments' growing use of Web 2.0/social networking technologies to reach out to residents is the focus of a new program launched this week by the Washington-based Public Technology Institute (PTI). Beginning with its 2009 Technology Solutions & Innovations Conference & Expo, scheduled for May 12-14 in San Diego, PTI will host a series of webinars and produce articles about Web 2.0 tools, and will create an awards program to recognize outstanding Web 2.0 projects.

Along with keeping the public informed about local government operations and programs, Web 2.0 applications encourage the public to participate in government more directly, according to PTI. "Local government use of Web 2.0 applications takes advantage of efficient and effective technology tools and demonstrates value for community and digital inclusion," PTI Executive Director Alan Shark said in a statement.

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