Gov 2.0 Camp, UnConference Spectacular #gov20camp

April 3, 2009 9 comments

Washington, DC just hosted an amazing unconference – the Gov 2.0 Camp. It was held at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Georgetown (Washington, DC) on 3/27 and 3/28/09.

The discussions in the hallways were often as interesting as the official classes. Sometimes the students in the atrium couldn’t hear over the animated conversations taking place and someone would have to shout for everyone to be quiet.  Some people attending that I knew included Bev Godwin, Leilani Martinez and Sheila Campbell of USA.gov, Jeffrey Levy and Kay Morrison of the EPA, Gwynne Kostin of DHS, Lisa Wolfisch from the Census, Claudia Isaacoff from the Coast Guard, and Mark Drapeau of the NDU (@Cheeky_Geeky). Lurita Doan was there, as a reporter, as was Daniel Mintz, acting as a volunteer. I met some amazing people who I had only known through Twitter – yes that’s you Sarah Bourne (@sarahbourne)! And it was cool to meet a neighbor I’d met only through Twitter – Noel Dickover (@NoelDickover).

I feel grateful for all those who made this Gov 2.0 Camp possible, and am so inspired by the brilliant presentations of people who are so knowledgeable and passionate about finding better ways to use technology and trying to get us all feeling that Gov 2.0 groove. I’ve included an overview of sessions I took notes on, with links. Enjoy!
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Highlights

-Twitter: the Air Force led a fascinating session where they presented case studies on how they actively use Twitter for outreach AND continually monitor it to find rumors, stop them immediately, avoid a crisis and to respond to bad information being promulgated. The Air Force had some good examples of why they think this is mission-critical. There is a follow up Crisis Communications camp – how to use Twitter and similar services in crisis communications. Many people in the class recommended Ragan Communications for their great seminars on Twitter and how organizations (Ford, GM, Comcast) monitor it for customer complaints – learn more hereIdenti.ca and SMS were mentioned as Twitter alternatives, with SMS being the best proven alternative. Presentation: Rumors Quashed at the Speed of Light. Tips: Air Force uses Hootsuite.com to monitor Twitter. The Mass. State government creates an RSS feed from search.twitter.com, and O’Reilly Media uses TweetGrid. Bit.ly – was recommended as a url shortener and clickthrough counter.

Macon Phillips and Bev Godwin at Gov 2.0 Camp Wash DC

Macon Phillips and Bev Godwin at Gov 2.0 Camp Wash. D.C. Photo courtesy of Eric S. Brown (@ericsbrown), http://www.politicalactivitylaw.com

Macon Phillips, White House Director of New Media, and Bev Godwin, White House Director of Online Resources and Interagency Development.

Tweets from this session:@macon wants to inspire innovation stuff outside whitehouse-‘we’re not the hub’ very encouraging.

RECOMMENDATION: Create a cache of “White House Approved” methods for engaging citizens that any given agency can follow.

We want top down endorsement to encourage us: “Go!”

Tweets for Macon Phillips and Bev Godwin to answer or comment on appear on stage with them

Tweets for Macon Phillips and Bev Godwin to answer or comment on appear on stage with them. Photo courtesy of Eric S. Brown (@ericsbrown), http://www.politicalactivitylaw.com

Tweets for Macon Phillips (@macon) and Bev Godwin (@bevusa) to answer or comment on appear on stage with them.

While at first the commentary was related to the first-of-its-kind Internet town hall meeting at the White House, camp goers could and did ask other questions and make other comments.

Typical of many, one questioner asked if her agency had to wait to use new media? What permissions were necessary before they could start? Should they wait for a new agency head to be hired?

The audience was told that all agencies should use new/social media now.

“The White House is HERE at #gov20camp” that’s an endorsement of social media right there. ( Steve Raddick @sradick).

-Video: people who worked on Obama’s campaign and were in charge of creating YouTube videos for that campaign talked about that experience. They said that video was no longer just an add-on, but an important media component that helps citizens visualize important concepts. Without it, all citizens have is text. The class talked about the challenges that federal/state/local agencies would face creating video content. Bev Godwin was there, and made it clear that Section 508 applied to all videos and that all videos made by agencies must be captioned before publishing. They (sorry I did not write down their names) mentioned that the Google Audio Indexing Tool: GAUDI – automatically created transcripts of Obama’s speeches, which was very helpful for their needs.
-Wikis: the EPA talked about how they used wikis to quickly create and maintain documentation internally. The OMB wiki has over 11,000 users. There are over 108 open source engines for wikis at wikimatrix.org Using wikis to develop new employee orientation materials was mentioned as an excellent example – one wiki for new employees (policies, forms, transportation, etc.), one wiki for managers (how to hire, how to request an office, pc, etc.) The Coast Guard mentioned that they are using wet paint as their internal wiki. The media wiki is powering wikipedia. The social media survey indicated that many citizens would prefer to get gov’t information from wikis – over web portals.

-Social Media Survey: Lead by Jed Sundwall of Captura (@jedsundwall) this session was a compelling survey of over 500 users, asking them what type of social media they would want to use to get information from the government, and what kind of info. they would want to receive. Ambient intimacy was mentioned as a term that people feel when they develop online friendships, and something the government should cultivate with citizens. Highly recommended: Social Media Survey.

-Disability: Census has created a fully accessible flash player (Lisa Wolfisch). There is an Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) standard API that can be used for social media sites like Facebook, so why isn’t anyone doing that?  Steve of Maine(@steveofmaine), a self-identified blind guy on twitter, routinely tests and comments on his experiences with various new media applications like Facebook.  Ian Lloyd of WGBH.org is an expert on captioning. Firebox is a free screen reader for Firefox browser. Note: could not find, however try Accessibar for Firefox. There is a Google Accessible Web Search for the Visually Impaired – finds sites that work well with screen readers – and the class wondered if the Google Audio Indexing Tool: GAUDI – could be used to create transcripts for videos or podcasts. If transcripts could be generated automatically, captioning would be faster. Jacob Nielsen recently wrote an article on a new flyout mega dropdown menu done in AJAX which is better for the disabled than flyovers. The Census has figures from 2007 of the numbers of the population that are disabled. Nat’l Fed. Blind has a page where people can report access problems with any page Note: I could not find this.

The US Now film(actually a UK film production) was premiered at the #gov20camp. Just clips are available now and it is expected to be more available in April 09.

Links to the Gov 2.0 Camp Produced Stuff
Friday, 3/27/09 and Saturday, 3/28/09 sessions.
Murals
Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy
Friday Photos
Saturday Photos
#gov20camp Flickr Group

Blog/News coverage:
CNET, Craig Newmark (Craigslist) SFGate.com, and Huffington Post, Air Force, Dorobek Insider, Network Solutions, Federal Times, Nextgov, Personal Democracy, Poynter Online, Seattle’s CTO, Sarah Bourne, Future gov, You2Gov, 13th Floor Governing.com Ellen Perlman (videos of agenda making), (videos of posters, Gov 2.0 Camp Recap, Steve Radick BAH, Viget Labs, Gov Social Media, Diane Cline Mural Maker Extraordinaire, Doug Watson, Future Fed – Microsoft Federal Blog – Trip Report from Gov 2.0 Camp, Paul Canning, Tony’s Place – an Outsider’s Take on Gov 2.0 Camp, Blackstone Technology, Devost, Mindtouch.

Groups for the Gov 2.0 Camp:
Facebook
Gov 2.0 Bar Camp
Linkedin
Twitter
Gov 2.0 Google Group
Govloop

Upcoming events (similar):
MuniGov 2.0 April 10, 2009 Online only
She’s Geeky, Sat. 4/18/009 in McLean, VA.
Coders for Charity – Geeks Giving Back 4/24 – 4/26/09, Kansas City, MO
eDemocracyCamp2 4/19/09, Wash., DC
Enterprise 2.0: Social learning strategies GCN, 4/21/09 Wash., DC
Crisis Communications camp June 13-14, 2009, Wash., DC
Online Social Networks to Support Community Collaboration, Penn State, PA June 25-27, 2009
Gov 2.0 Summit (O’Reilly) 9/2009, Wash., DC
Bar Camps in the USA
Social Media Club event near you – (Google Search)
eGovernment at W3C

Ada Lovelace Day

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I have been fortunate enough to know many wonderful women who are trailblazers, namely in the IT/Internet/Social Media world.

*Aliza Sherman founder of Cybergrrl, Webgrrls and Femina.com. Webgrrls paved the way for DCWebgrrls, which morphed into DC Web Women. Aliza founded the first full-service Internet company owned by a woman (1995, Cybergrrl, Inc.

*Shellie Holubek and
*Debbie Weil, co-founders of DC Web Women (formerly known as DC Webgrrls)

Shellie Houbek and Debbie Weil, both tech-savvy women living in Washington, DC, decided to co-found a DC chapter of DC Webgrrls in 1995. Now known as DC Web Women, this group,  which has never charged for membership, supports over 2,000 women in the greater Washington, DC area.

-Shellie Holubek now resides in Paris, France where she oversees her family and her consulting practice there.

Debbie Weil has become a corporate social media consultant and trainer (specializing in blogging and Twitter) and a sought-after speaker based in Washington DC. Her clients include Global 100 and Fortune 500 companies. She is the author of the widely praised The Corporate Blogging Book published in the U.S. by Portfolio, and also in Italian, Mandarin Chinese and a UK edition. Since 2003 she has written BlogWriteForCEOs, a leading blog on social media marketing. She is also a Top Twitterer in Washington DC with over 3,800 Followers.

*Emma Antunes, one of the original members of DC Web Women, was interviewed by Chris Dorobek about social media at NASA. Listen online

*Jamila White, an active member of DC Web Women, was recognized as belonging to the elite group, 50 of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Social Media

All of these women are so inspiring – some of the coolest women you’ve never heard of! DC Web Women rock!

GMU English Undergraduate Students – Presentation

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Good Morning! Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

A little about me: Joy Gatewood Fulton

Questions for you: How many of you are on
Facebook?
LinkedIn?
Twitter?
Have a blog?
Have commented on a blog?

Futures for English Undergraduates

Library of Congress: Electronic Research Products Editor, Technical Writer-Editor

USAjobs.gov: search for Writer-DC, search for Editor-DC, New Media – Communications & Outreach Specialist

Skills for now and the future –Always be learning

Networking: DC Web Women, LinkedIn, Facebook – groups that hold meetings, such as:

6 Best Inauguration Twitterers

January 15, 2009 Leave a comment

As we are heading into the Obama’s inauguration, maybe you should be using Twitter, especially if you are going to it? Its web-based, but easy to get on a cell phone – like a Blackberry. The twitters below are feeds that are very helpful.

You can set up a Twitter account for free at http://www.twitter.com and choose to follow other people or entities based on how useful you find their information.  Try the suggestions below – there are 6 4 Twitter Inauguration tweets suggested –  so select them by clicking on the  “follow” button that appears under their name on the upper left side of the page.  There is a video that explains Twitter here: http://commoncraft.com/twitter

6 4 Best Twitter Inauguration feeds (tweets) to follow (list will be updated as more is known):

http://twitter.com/Inauguration_DC – DC Gov Inauguration News/Alerts

http://twitter.com/GoogleNewsElect – Google breaking news on President Elect

http://twitter.com/drgridlock – DC live transportation and traffic alerts

http://twitter.com/Biden – The VP-Elect is tweeting regularly! (New)

http://twitter.com/CarfreeJan20 – Real time travel updates from http://www.commuterpage.com (New)

Using Twitter without signing up

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=inaug – searches all tweets for anything with the word “inaug” in it. Other choices are shown of terms most discussed, which changes by the minute.

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%22Lincoln+Memorial%22 – searches all tweets with Lincoln Memorial. Being used by many people who are going to that area ahead of concert at 2:30 1/15 – Sunday


If you are new to twitter, get ideas of other twitterers to follow from these lists:

http://twitter.pbwiki.com/USGovernment – US Government Twitterers

http://twitter.pbwiki.com/News-Services – News Services Twitterers

http://twitter.pbwiki.com/PoliceAndFire – Police and Fire Twitterers,
also this blog posting details how LAFD uses twitter: http://stephensonstrategies.com/directory-of-major-blog-posts/boy-did-i-underestimate-twitters-value-in-a-disaster/

Hope you find this information useful!  Send me more if you have them – I’ll post it here. Thanks in advance!

You can be played with Visual Rhetoric

October 21, 2008 1 comment

(Note: this is from a presentation for ENG 611,  Studies in Rhetoric, taught by Professor Widerhold at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, and is slated to be delivered on 10/22/08).

Summary: This story I examined was The Force of Callas’ Kiss – The 1997 Apple Advertising Campaign, “Think Different” by Ronald E. Shields.  Ronald Shield, the author, explored  – Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign from many rhetorical angles, including the grammatical error in the “Think Different” slogan, which would read as “Think Differently” if it were grammatically correct. However, it can come across in many ways: as a command, as a meta comment (Apple is commenting on its ability to think differently by thinking different instead), or as a organization so close to the bleeding edge of technology and innovation that it creates its own rules in that world and the world of using language.

The author also explored the content of the video, exploring the images chosen and the audiences that they were expected to resonate with. He drew parallels between the montage of images and the gestalt in the mind of the viewer that the Think Different ad created – versus the strategy used by Sergei Eisenstein of making images function rhetorically by deploying colliding images to create deliberate perceptual dissonance.

However, I found it difficult to derive meaning from the article without viewing the video. The original “Think Different” ad is published on Youtube, including versions in at least six languages (Japanese, Italian, German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese). Assuming that you will also benefit by watching the video, and then discussing them, let’s get started. 

To try to eliminate Visual Rhetoric, we will scan the text transcript of the TV ad. Then we will view the TV ad itself, and then a short video on the making of the “Think Different” ad.  We will rate our reaction to each viewing – so please keep track of your reaction to each one so you can determine how and which rhetoric works most or least effectively on you.

 

 

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Please quickly scan this transcript of the TV ad and note your reaction, below.

 

IMAGES

TEXT

Albert Einstein

Here’s to the crazy ones

Bob Dylan

The misfits. The rebels.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The trouble makers.

Richard Branson

The round pegs into square holes. The ones who see things differently.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

They’re not fond of rules.

Buckminster Fuller

And they have no respect for status quo.

Thomas Alva Edison

You can quote them

Muhammed Ali

Disagree with them, glorify

Ted Turner

Or vilify them

Maria Callas

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them

Mahatma Gandhi

Because they change things

Amelia Earhart

They push the human race forward

Alfred Hitchcock

And while some might see them

Martha Graham

As the crazy ones

Jim Henson

We see genius

Frank Lloyd Wright

Because the people who are crazy enough

Pablo Picasso

To think they can change the world

Unidentified young girl

Are the ones who do

Apple Logo

“Think Different”

 

What was your reaction? Circle one, below and also note any questions you had.

  1. I loved it – Positive
  2. I liked it – Mildly interested
  3. Didn’t care either way – Not interested at all
  4. Disliked it – Negative
  5. Hated it – Very Negative
  6. Other:

 ================================================================

 

Okay, are you ready? Now we will watch Apple’s TV ad “Think Different” video, once again record our reactions afterwards.

 

  

On YouTube

 

 

 

What was your reaction? Circle one, below and also note any questions you had.
I loved it – Positive
I liked it – Mildly interested
Didn’t care either way – Not interested at all
Disliked it – Negative
Hated it – Very Negative
Other:

 

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Okay, are you ready? Let’s watch The Making of the “Think Different” ad and record our reactions

 

On YouTube

 

Note: stop at 1:56, and advance to 2:05

 

 

What was your reaction? Circle one, below and also note any questions you had.

I loved it – Positive

I liked it – Mildly interested

Didn’t care either way – Not interested at all

Disliked it – Negative

Hated it – Very Negative

Other:

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Quote for this presentation:  “The projections of the dialectic system of things into the brain, into creating abstractly, into the process of thinking, yields: dialectic methods of thinking; dialectical materialism—Philosophy (45).” Eisenstein, Sergei. A Dialectic Approach to Film Form,” Film Form: Essays in Film Theory.

 

In classical philosophy, dialectic (Greek: διαλεκτική) is controversy: the exchange of arguments and counter-arguments respectively advocating propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses). The outcome of the exercise might not simply be the refutation of one of the relevant points of view, but a synthesis or combination of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue. Wikipedia.

Discuss what you felt during the reading of the ad’s text, compared to viewing the ad itself, and then finally how you felt after watching the final video.

 

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Discussion of quote and meaning behind it

Sergei Eisenstein felt that a dialectical collision of images forces the viewer to resolve the conflict and to drive a meaning not implicit in any of the individual frames.

 

This dialectical collision also acts in concert with the Gestalt psychology principles of perception: we are compelled to make meaning of what we sense (see, hear, touch, taste, feel).

 

If we can not make meaning, we experience a certain kind of uneasiness known as cognitive or perceptual dissonance. To eliminate this discomfort, we are compelled to process information in a way that forces meaning on it, in an attempt to understand it, that feels best to us. 

 

Both Eisenstein’s and Gestalt perception theory presents visual media specialists with an easy way to enter our unconscious mind.  They will create the mixed messages and we will subconsciously attempt to make sense of the confusing messages because we must understand incoming stimuli and reduce dissonance.

 

Another quote:  Art frequently exploits the perceptual dissonance between what is seen and what is recognised.  The degree of disparity between the form and what it suggests determines the degree of dissonance.

 

 

 

Create your Facebook and MySpace accounts before a hacker does it for you

August 9, 2008 2 comments

I’ve blogged before about the importance of managing your online identity. This week, hackers at the recent Black Hat conference in Las Vegas set out to prove how very important that can be.

At the event, some of hackers participated in an experiment where they created profiles on Facebook and MySpace for prominent individuals. They created Facebook and MySpace accounts for people who had none, and used data that was easily available online to create the phony profiles.  Then the hackers used the spoofed accounts to send invitations to others – to be their Facebook or MySpace friends.  Suprise – the invitations were quickly approved as friends by people who should have known better – some of them prominent security analysts.

So – what’s the moral to this story? Actually, there are many best practices that we all should consider.

1. If you had don’t have a Facebook or MySpace account – then you should set one up immediately. You should have one on both sites – if only to ensure that someone else does not set one up in your name to impersonate you.

2. Don’t include too much detail on your Facebook or MySpace accounts. Some people broadcast an incredible amount of detail about their personal life, including their home address, their cell phone and home phone numbers, and photos that may be a problem later – for example, if they ever need a security clearance. According to computer security specialist Shawn Moyer, “Don’t put anything there [on Facebook or MySpace] that you don’t consider public.” And what you put on your profile can easily be copied by other computers – so it exists long after you have deleted it, as you have no control over other’s server.

3. Don’t accept friend requests from someone that you don’t know. For example, as Esther Dyson states on her Facebook profile: “I don’t respond to friend requests that don’t have a personal message proving I’m not just another entry in someone’s address book. I’m just trying to uphold the Facebook credo that you should actually know your FB friends.”  She attributes the practice of being guarding one’s online security as “online grooming.”

4. Don’t install 3rd party applications for Facebook and MySpace just because a friend of yours has invited you to do so, warned computer security specialists Nathan Hamiel and Shawn Moyer, speaking from the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. “People are going nuts adding applications they don’t need. . . People know if they go on a computer and download a program they could get a virus. . . They don’t have the same view of how dangerous that can be on a social networking site.”

Social networks really don’t care if you get pawned or not,” Hamiel said, using slang referring to a computer user being dominated and humiliated by hackers.  Manage your own online presence – and your online identity can be a boon, not a bust, to your career and your lifestyle.

And as a final note, I searched Facebook for Nathan Hamiel and Shawn Moyer – and could not find an account for either gentleman.

Create your web pages as if everyone has ADD

August 8, 2008 1 comment

Imagine your users – coming to your site. What is their goal?  What do they want to accomplish?

Can users come to your website and accomplish their task in thirty seconds – or less?  Studies show that website visitors have attentions spans lasting between nine and thirty seconds. Someone with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) also has a short attention span, and difficulty completing tasks. If your website includes a shopping cart, users are even more impatient. A Nov 2006 study identified ‘4 seconds’ as the minimum acceptable retail web page response time.

So if your web pages are slow pages – due to flash, content available only within a file, huge images – you may have accidentally created a website good at customer elimination. Users will not read your carefully, lovingly created content – they want short text strings in bullet point format that they can click on to accomplish their task(s).

Creating useful web pages is more of a science than an art. Your users want to quick, understandable content – easily scannable text accompanied by just enough graphics to help them choose what they want. Today’s users do indeed act – online at least – as if they have ADD.

If I sound flippant, actually I’m not. I know many people with ADD – and know many people who don’t. Both groups are equally impatient when online. Its easy to feel the pain of an organization that spent big bucks on big, slow, showy website that alienates users. In designing websites, KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) is the golden rule. If your users have short attention spans, simple designs and easy to read text is appealing to them.

I went to Websites that suck (2008 contenders) to find examples of websites where users can not easily accomplish their tasks.  In the examples below the customer elimination effect includes:
a. Key information is not on the top, left or center of the front page –where users expect it (users get tired of looking for info and leave, see eyetracking/heatmapping).
b. Important content is contained in a file, or via flash, video, or audio-  instead of straightforward and easy to scan text (takes too long to render content and interpret it).
c. Inefficient use of screen real estate leaves key information placed at the bottom of the page (users won’t scroll as they assume important info is on the top)
d. Navigation is difficult (requires too much effort and time from the ADD user)
e. Layout is poor – menus don’t follow conventions and are hard to understand, read and user (requires too much effort and time from the ADD user)

1. Brill Publications: Problems: See items a through e above. Also, the site’s navigation is difficult and has too many urls. This site strays from the home page & supporting pages concept that users expect.

2. Land between the Lakes: Problems: a through e above.  Also, this site is problematic for color blind users- anyone who has trouble seeing colors in the green range will have difficulties, as will anyone who can’t read sideways.

3. Auglaize County, Ohio: Problems: Items a and c are the biggest problem this page has. Otherwise, it’s an okay page. But it is a BIG problems, as the first time user has no idea there is anything worth scrolling down to see. I kept clicking on the photos, thinking they were the entry into the site.

Cited Studies:
The average attention span for web browsing is about 10 seconds.

Akamai and JupiterResearch Identify ‘4 Seconds’ as the New Threshold of Acceptability for Retail Web Page Response Times – Nov 2006