Nickname? Lose it.

photo_091408_007I expect this to be one of the most controversial Government 2.0 posts I’ve written. And though it’s not the most important, I am certainly writing it in all seriousness.

You think that nickname you’re famous by on the Web isn’t a detirment to Gov 2.0? You’ve got to be kidding.

I remember covering my first board meeting, back around 1998. It was the Delta College Board of Trustees, and I took one look and decided that if I could just get our school newspaper cartoonist to draw these sleepy, corpulent and wrinkled folks running our school, the students would go nuts. These leaders were about as alien to a fit, hyper 20 year old as airplanes to aboriginal Brazilians.

Now, I’m a bit older and fatter myself, and I know the truth. The people who run things in this country, especially at the lower and broader levels, are just like these trustees.

And that has everything to do with your Web 2.0 nickname. They won’t get it, and they’ll think less of you (and by extension, all of us) for it.

Now, I’m not saying that anyone can’t or shouldn’t use a nickname. I just want you to think about what it means. You’re choosing to fit in (yes, fit in) with a culture that is not in power, and to show the culture that is that you don’t really think much of them, either.

If we’re to have a shift in government, you might want to think about that.

What’s in the Perfect Citizen 2.0 Training?

photo_010409_012My friend Andrea Baker recently wrote a great blog post about Citizen 2.0:

“The Citizen 2.0 crowd are the citizens and constituents that engage the Government by writing their congressional representative, vote and create questions on HubDub or or engage in online debate with others via Twitter or to their pundits on main-stream media programming.”

Here in Dublin, CA, I am working with local social media junkies and bloggers to design a free training workshop for everyday folks on how to use social tools to engage and influence their government and create positive change. Along the way, we hope to build community and also give a few tips on how our neighbors can also use these tools to build their own businesses.

What would you tell them?

I’m GovLooping – Are You?

govloop-finalI’ve spent the majority of my networking energies over the past few months at GovLoop. Maybe you’ve not even heard of it yet.

The stats below who the significant efforts I’ve put into building connections and community at the site, the social network for Government 2.0 (recently updated as simply “social network for government”).

562 Friends
23 Groups Joined
10 Discussions Started
25 Blog posts
91 Photos
3 Videos
0 Events
280 Comments Made
152 My Comments
86 Forum Posts
95 Invites

Perhaps you take a look at this password-protected network with only 5,000 members (compared to 150 million for Facebook) and say, why, oh why, Adriel, are you wasting your time with this?

Here’s why.

I am not a Moose. I am not an Elk. I don’t belong to a fraternity, the Masons, or the Chamber of Commerce. I’m a twixer between generations X and Y, and I’ve got little kids who need me home at night. I serve on my condo board, and most of the little free time I have outside the home is spent working for my church.

If I want to network, I have to do it with quick e-mails, posts and text messages. I have to do it from my cell phone, on mass transit, on the run, and on the computer at home after the kids are in bed or during their weekend naps.

And yet, over the past few months, I’ve learned from folks in the trenches what is and is not working in making government better for the people, and I’m finding support for tough problems in reframing government communications in a changing media environment.

I’ve met the creme de la creme of the innovative leaders in local, state and federal government. I met them first through GovLoop, and have enhanced the relationships through Twitter, phone and video calls and collaboration on projects like the official GovLoop t-shirt (with group founder Steve Ressler).

New members of GovLoop include California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Don Jacobson, Consul General at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, and Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media (ed 2/1/09: confirmed). Active group participants include Jeffrey Levy, Director of Web Communications and National Web Content Manager, EPA (who spends free time on Twitter and writing incredible white papers with the Federal Web Manager’s Council), who started his first blog on the site.

These are just a few of the super cool people working to bring the collaborative and transparent culture of Web 2.0 to government.

I’m with them. Are you?

Why Isn’t Skype the Most Popular Thing on the Planet?

adrielI just can’t get how few people actually use Skype. And I’m coming at this from a major metro area where everybody has broadband.

Or maybe it’s because we’re in a major metro area that we don’t have a need to communicate by video phone with our far-flung friends and families?

All my childhood, the Holy Grail of technology was the video phone. Now it’s here and free, and hugely underused in the U.S.


I’d also like to see Skype or similar tech used to increase public participation in public meetings. By this I mean increasing the breath of people participating, getting soccer moms and Dow dads in on the action from home after the kids are abed. Participation in governance builds trust, and this tech is well-suited.

And is it really true that Skype has no marketing plan?

(Bonus: You can use also TokBox w/out a download to send video mails, made video calls, and vlog. With both of these tools you can also do free videoconferences with people around the world.)

How Can Gov 2.0 Promote Local Economic Development?

img_0005Seems that one of the perfect uses of social media and Web 2.0-style collaboration in local government is in economic development.

I’ve very interested in your thoughts, from regulatory issues to customer growth, how can Government 2.0 help small and emerging businesses do better?

Locally, I’m working with social media friends to put on a free training about citizen democracy and using social tools to build community and trust. I’m also interested in mapping out free wi-fi in my community and promoting businesses that offer it.

I’m interested in how government economic development offices can help create collaborative resources similar to “Love Tacoma” and “Third Places” to attract and retain local businesspeople. Love Tacoma is a Tacoma, WA, project to create social networks for young people and promote local activities; Third Places is a project of Charlotte, NC, that provides information on informal business spaces such as independent coffee shops with wi-fi where freelancers can gather.

What do you think? And if you’re familiar with the projects I cite above, how have they worked out?

Authenticated Twitter Accounts are a Great Monetization Strategy

img_0083A lot of us want Twitter to survive and thrive. Sometimes it almost seems like it doesn’t want to, but I have noticed some promising job listings lately. And I’ve got a pretty solid thought. (I’m sure it’s been said before, but I haven’t read it, so don’t sue me – plus, I tweeted this like months ago.)

Twitter can sell authenticated accounts. No, I’m not talking about tiered accounts, I’m talking about someone actually verifying the identity of the person behind the account and putting a seal on the profile.

Have you ever been impersonated on Twitter? I know people who have. How about your company? What if someone was out there pretending to be you, or worse, mocking you under your brand name?

I bet there are thousands of accounts that could be sold at $100 a year, without lawsuits over names that are already taken. You don’t have to bump name squatters, you just don’t validate those accounts. Word moves fast on Twitter, and it would all be sorted out in a jiffy.

And Twitter might make a few million bucks.

What do you think?

(BTW, I am not really Henry Paulson, and that is not really President Obama.)

Six Stages of Chris Brogan

broganWhen one of my pals jumps on Twitter for the first time, they invariably say something like, who’s this Chris Brogan you keep talking about?

This is what I like to call the First Stage of Chris Brogan – IGNORANCE.

The next stage isn’t very nice. That’s where you discover that he is THE MAN on Twitter and in social media. And what do you want to do? Knock him down! (Perhaps this stage only applies to males.) This is where you make dumb jokes or say mean things about Chris Brogan. Second Stage of Chris Brogan – COMPETITION.

Then perhaps you reach the point where you have actually checked out his blog and realized he’s the perfect guide to this strange new world you’re now inhabiting. Maybe you’ve even subscribed or left a comment. Third Stage of Chris Brogan – AWE.

After learning some really cool things, you’ve got so wrapped up in the tools and culture you’re in, that you almost forget about Chris Brogan. Fourth Stage of Chris Brogan – FORGETFULNESS

Then you get his blog again in your inbox, and you’re like, “Wow, it’s almost like Chris wrote this just for me!” And you’re talking to and learning from Chris Brogan. Fifth Stage of Chris Brogan – LOVE

Sixth Stage – you tell me. I don’t really know the guy that well, yet.

(photo by chipgriffin)

Are You Networking for Entertainment, Or Value?

wolf-dogA social networking top dog pinged me today about someone I really like on social networks, but who’s not too active. I’m a bit particular about social networking, as I’ve pointed out before. I connect with a few top dogs, but no people pretending to be dogs. I connect with plenty of fun people, even some fictional characters, but avoid fictional characters pretending to be people.

How about you? Are you networking for entertainment or value?

I want to get to know real-world powerhouses who might be less-active Twitter users. If you disagree, I can direct you to a few very entertaining jokers, Santa Claus, and the crew of Serenity.

(photo by Storm Gal)