Eight Top Tips For Gov 2.0 Practitioners

photo_102408_003The passion behind this blog is for government reform. However, sometimes that gets buried by posts about tools. This roundup is simply my favorite posts written for would-be and beginning  Gov 2.0 practitioners.

Government 2.0 Isn’t Facebook – A quick look at how to blow an early entry into the social media space.

Let’s Discuss Teaching Citizens About 2.0 – What should you include in a social media training?

If You’re Interested in Gov 2.0, You Need to Be on GovLoop – It’s the place where thought leaders in the space have gathered.

Social Media and Economic Development – Let’s talk about helping local businesses.

Templating a Gov 2.0 Blog – Taking a blog into the 2.0 world means comments and collaboration.

Twimp Out Your Page – A quick guide to add live Twitter content to your topical Web site.

Folks Making Gov 2.0 Happen, a Twitlist – Here’s a list of great Government 2.0 folks to follow on Twitter.

Low-tech, Low-Cost Solutions – Three quick and dirty solutions for bringing collaborative government to municipalities using Web 2.0.

And you can see ALL my Gov 2.0 posts here. Thanks!

Does Your Google Make a Funny?

travel-toyko_touchingGoogle is so darn big, a simple typo can turn any search into something else. Like, my “Spring Break” analytics project can turn into the “Sprint Break” project.

Or, once I had an intern who turned in a news story with a quote about throwing someone in the “who’s cow.” Hey, hoosegow does sound a little like who’s cow, right? And Google affirmed uses of the phrase.

Craziest example was when a friend was trying to talk about the Hmong people and for some reason thought they were  called “People of the Moo.” I tried a bunch of variations of search, ending up with a serious of books about  extraterrestrials, before I finally figured out what he was talking about.

How about you? Have any funny search engine error examples?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

img_2976I’m always hearing all these analogies about Twitter:

Twitter is like your inner monologue.”

“Twitter is like one big status update on Facebook.”

“Twitter is like an indie rock show.”

“Twitter is like passing notes in school.”

“Twitter is like Montreal.”

“Twitter is like sex, everybody does it differently.”

“Twitter is like reading the ramblings of a crazy person.”

“Twitter is like the neighborhood bar of the industry.”

“Twitter is like wandering around at a cocktail party.”

Now all these musings are fine and good. But after just barnstorming Twitter for several months, I think I’ve got a better analogy.

Twitter is neighborhoods in a global community.

It’s global community, where you can seek out just about whatever you want, whether it’s red light districts, product launches, Bible studies, bars, classrooms, political rallies or community meetings. Like any community, a wave and a smile can make someone’s day.

So what are all these other analogies?

Let’s consider. A community has all kinds, right? I think most people get to niche focused and forget that Twitter takes all kinds. So, as in all life, you’ve got some standard archytpes. I’m only going to name a few names here, but you can fill in the blanks.

Mack daddies: These are the “social media experts” who stay up to late or drink a bit too much and start tweeting around for dates.

Small town mayors: Like @chrisbrogan, these are the folks who know how to build a community around themselves. Chris remembers how many kids people have and where their nearest Starbucks. And if he doesn’t remember, he tags them so it looks like he does. This guy is SO the mayor of Twitter.

Showmen/women: This would be the guy or gal who get up on the stage at the town hall talent show and just wows. Everybody loves ’em. I’d put @unmarketing, @kimsherrell and @garyvee in this category.

The bloviater: Every community and neighborhood has someone you wish would just stop talking. Maybe that’s me for you, and I’m thinking of a few other names right now. Luckily, it’s easier to walk away on Twitter than it is in real life.

The barfly: This tweep really does think Twitter is a cocktail party.

The BFF: All over Twitter. I love these people. Way more of them on Twitter than in my real neighborhood, actually.

The cool neighbor: You might not talk much, but they’ve always got a second to say something nice. Almost an @dannybrown, but Danny helps out a little more than this archetype (“really cool neighbor”?).

Codgers: This would be the person you wave at passing on the street and they act like you’re not even there.

Too cool for school: Still in high school, still cooler than everybody. Still a jackass, and now you don’t care.

What other categories would you add? What do you think of Twitter as neighborhoods in a global community?

Does Identity = Integrity?

img_3050I’ve written a bit here about what I believe to be one of the major cultural challenges of mainstreaming Web 2.0 culture. That would be the use of anonymous comments and nicknames. The discussions on both issues have been great, and have helped convince me that my position on this definitely shouldn’t be all or nothing.

This brings me to a conversation today that (conveniently!) supports my viewpoint that taking real-name ownership of one’s online identity is still the best general policy. See, the same way that anonymity can go way too far, so can transparency, or what some are calling “little brother.”

Do you want folks snapping pictures of you, tweeting about you, telling you what is and isn’t private? I don’t, so I pretty much tell you what you are going to get. And I put my name and face behind it. If I’m going to publicly criticize an idea or a person, I’m going to put my name on it.

The way I see it, taking personal responsibility means I’m going to moderate my behavior to the Golden Rule to some extent.

(And definitely I like how people are taking longstanding online nicknames on Twitter and adding real name accountability in their Twitter profiles.)

What do you think?

Do You Respect Your “Friends”? (My “Yes” & “No” Follow Patterns)

photo_101808_004A brief Twitter row this morning over “following back” – reciprocating network relationships – got me thinking about my own practices.

I’m happy to use Twitter how I like, and also glad that I’ve been able to build a significant community of people who are cool with that.

Over times, I’ve noted a few reasons why people do and do not (or do and then stop) follow me on Twitter.

The “yes” reasons:

I know a lot about communications and politics, even though I don’t always practice what I preach.

The second “yes” is that I’m generally kind and helpful, though, like everyone, I have my bad days.

The “no” reasons:

I am openly Christian, but also a leftist on economic issues. Those two viewpoints don’t seem to be too common together, so some people stop following or choose not to in the first place. I also will stop following people who are thoughtlessly disrespectful of those elements of who I am. It’s not a big deal, I just don’t need hate from either side. Those people I stop following may also choose to stop following me.

The other “no” reason is that at points during the day, such as when I’m on transit or sitting down decompressing with Tweetdeck, I update a lot. A LOT. Some people are cool with that, and some are not. Many of those who are not are friends in real life, or are connected with me on other networks. And that’s very cool.

I like people to get to know me, and I like getting to know you. I have my opinions on Twitter culture, but I’m not going to force them on anyone else. If you don’t like how someone else is using Twitter, you don’t have to follow them, but you also don’t need to bully them into your viewpoint.

We’re all unique, and isn’t that what makes this experiment in mass community so interesting?

Are You Activating Citizen 2.0?

img_18661I’ve very happy to announce that we’ve firmed up deets for the Tri-Valley’s first “Citizen 2.0” training (East San Francisco Bay Area, CA), to be held at the end of March in Dublin.

This is very important to me, because the main reason I do this blog is to spread the word about how busy folks can use modern communications tools to take direct control of their democracy. Social media and 2.0 culture has the power to engage active citizens and businesspeople with their local community and government in ways not seen since the decay of small town life. This changes everything, from business development to governance.

I hope that you are promoting similar projects in your communities as well. Please tell us about them in the comments here!

This free training will target entry-level folks who don’t know a Twitter from a MySpace but may already be engaging their customers with newsletters, or their government with public comment. PR pro George Millington, Realtor and social media enthusiast Jonathan Fleming and I are taking on this project with support and help from two local bloggers who run Around Dublin, a pro bono effort to promote Dublin, CA businesses and engage citizens with their government. Around Dublin has several hundred daily readers, and we will be cross-promoting the event with flyers, Craiglist ads, word of mouth, and other traditional and “new” media. We also hope to get a local business or two to offer raffle prizes to get folks in the door, and we’re providing food, because what good event is complete without it?

So, what does a Citizen 2.0 training consist of? This is what we hope to convey in our two-hour program:

Participation in local government is important. It’s the only way to influence policies that may affect you, it keeps politicians accountable, and local government decisions and community effort are key to driving local business development.

Barriers to participation are significant. It’s hard to make the time to stay up on local government or to get motivated to get involved. If you have been involved, it can be discouraging to not see any change from your efforts, or you may simply feel like you have nothing to contribute.

One of the ways to break down the barriers is Citizen 2.0. This is a community member engaged through simple Web communication tools to know what’s going on in their City, with the means to quickly and easily add meaningful input. Citizen 2.0 is streamlined activism for modern life. It’s the blog I built to harness energy around modifying a local library project, and it is bringing people together around community and economic development in non-traditional ways.

Social media is the Web-tool enabled culture that drives Citizen 2.0. We’ll cover the culture of collaboration, transparency and immediacy of Web 2.0, and give an overview of blogging and an introduction to tools such as Facebook, Skype, Yelp, Twitter and Google Alerts. This demo will include how to “talk the talk” when it comes to getting started with these tools.

We’ll close with advice on how local citizens can make a difference using social tools to build community, advance issues, drive local business development, and participate in local policymaking. We’ll also pump the Around Dublin blog and its ongoing evolution. During a final Q&A, we’ll also be signing folks up for Twitter.

As you can tell, I’m very excited about this. I hope it’s interesting to you as well, and will spur continued creativity in community building in your neck of the woods.

Rock on!

You’ll Like My Peeps, Part 2 (#FridayFollow Edition)

100_00102Second in an occasional series (like when I can’t think of anything really original, or am too tired to write something difficult!). Check the tag cloud for “Good Peeps” (or just click) to see previous lists, and please add people you feel would enjoy this community in the comments. Thanks!

I’ve got a lot of Twitter tips on this site, but also want to point to a brief article on my favorite hashtag Twitter game, #followfriday, from Pete at Mashable. Here it is.

And here’s tonight’s 10 rockstars, in honor of #followfriday (updated 21/21/09):

Immunity – Andrea Baker is a Web 2.0 communicator extraordinaire, and a leader in Gov 2.0.

@DruidSmith – Dave Smith, GIS expert from Scranton, can it get much better?

@kwells2416 – She’s working to stop domestic violence, has a radio show, and is oh so sweet. I love Kim Wells.

@Robert_Banghart – Check out his profile – he’s a man of many great interests. He’s a great conversationalist, the kind of person that makes Twitter most valuable, in my mind. Like my redneck friend above, Robert was a quick addition to my rockstars.

@barbchamberlain – She’s making social media work in a business, non-profit and educational context, and is a former elected herself. (And she bikes to work!)

@CCseed – Richard Reeve, Jungian blogger, pops up in my lists a lot, because he uses social media to an end, not as an end. I always enjoy his deeper looks at life and meaning.

@kriscolvin – Still not sure about the avatar, but really like Kris. She’s about personal branding, with more integrity than most. She’s been one of my fav peeps for a long time, like months (Twitter time runs in dog years – 7 for 1, I think).

@KristieWells – Local, founder of Social Media Club. Need I say more?

@TheEntertainer – Scott Brandon Hoffman is out to spread the love. He’s funny, affirming, and inspires me with his nightly sign-offs.

@AlexisNeely – Law and finance expert, family woman and all around cool gal. Changing the world, one day at a time.

Love you all!

TwitterCons and Other Sad Stuff

imagesThere are some very ugly trends shaping Twitter these days. Happily, the system is fairly flexible and it’s not too hard to filter out this garbage. However, I’d been very active on Twitter for several months before I learned that one of it’s top 10 users, Perry Belcher, is a convicted Internet fraudster who sold bunko cures to people searching the Web for answers to their ailments.

(I was following Perry before learning this information. I’ve also been a minor victim of a similar scam for weight loss products. These kind of cons work by offering free trials, then billing your credit card each month due to fine print clauses, and making it difficult to reach anyone to cancel. The group I fell victim to is under criminal investigation in Florida. They may also be making stuff up, like Perry using clip art of doctors to tout his pills.)

Also troubling, and related to Perry’s MO, is the heavy influx of multi-level marketers (MLM) onto Twitter. These are the modern Amway folks, and they use relationships as tools to get people into their sales pyramids.

Twitter is a place for relationships, but be careful about who you allow into your stream, and community.

Also, if you run into any problems with social networks stalkers, this link may provide some help.

Be safe out there!

Update: Tenn. auction’s off scammer’s ill-gotten gains. With video of Perry’s toys.

You’ll Like My Peeps, Part 1 (also, Notes on My Twitter Use)

coolbarackThis is the first of an occasional series where I simply give props to the folks scrolling through my “Rockstars” group on Tweetdeck (h/t to Twitter DJ, viral video producer and all around cool dude @unmarketing for the group name I lifted in his honor).

Also, for folks new to my social media sandbox, I’ll mention that I’m happy to follow back anyone who wants to build a relationship on Twitter, but that I do tweet a heck of a lot, and if you don’t want to talk to me, I’m not that interested in reading what you have to say. That’s just how it is.

That said, these fine folks are probably a lot more social than me. And you don’t need to wait for #followfriday to find out (today’s top 10 based simply on who’s tweeting as I write this).

Erin Kotecki Vest is like the queen of mommy bloggers, and an Obama and gov reform supporter, far as I can tell.

Lucretia M. Pruitt is also a reigning mommy blogger, and geeky.

Ari Herzog is a social media smart guy. Hire him, simply because he’s created enough value for free already.

Kim Sherrell is really, really nice. She cares if you’re sick, and her tweets are fun. (Guys, be good to Kimmy, or else.)

InsideBayArea is a local San Francisco Bay Area newspaper handle, which I’m pretty sure is run by my friend and former coworker George Kelly.

Shaun Dakin is another Obama supporter, and a very pragmatic guy who’s on a vendetta to end political robo calls. He tweets about what #iscool and what #isnotcool. Really good stuff.

Helen Mosher and I may have been separated at birth. But like I said above, she’s nicer than me.

Alonis is a roving citizen journalist just down the road from where I lay my head. She keeps Bay Area peeps in the know.

Damien Basile is a social media wild man. You kinda gotta be to hang, right?

Barbara Haven is one of my NorCal Government 2.0 peeps.

And that’s it for tonight. Love ya!

Top Eight Posts: Me, Nicknames, Chris and Facebook

photo_091308_002Wanted to share with you a quick rundown of what WordPress tells me are my popular posts, with a few new thoughts. If you’ve not read these yet, or if you have, I’d love to know what you think, and what you’d like to see more of.

#1 Who is Adriel? I’m happy to report that this is the most clicked post on my page. It tells me the Web is social, and that you care who is writing what you are reading. That leads to the second most popular post.

#2 Nickname? Lose it. This most-commented post gives my brief thoughts on how Web nicknames can be a barrier to mainstream acceptance of Web 2.0 ideas and ideals, especially in a Government 2.0 context.

#3 Six Stages of Chris Brogan. Chris Brogan is perhaps the Number 1 blogger out there, for my money. I discuss the ways I’ve interacted with him on Twitter, and why you should know him, too. Writing about Chris Brogan is a great way to build traffic, by the way.

#4 Gov 2.0 is a Leveler, or it is Nothing. I was also really happy to see this post grab some traction. This blog is ostensibly about Government 2.0, and this post was really my response to use of the term “goverati” to describe Web 2.0 advocates in government. It is my firm believe that 2.0 technologies and ideals should be used to promote equal rights of citizens, not to set up a new class of experts.

#5 FAQ. That page post became popular only when I promoted it on Twitter, but plenty of people do seem to be interested in learning more about Government 2.0, social media and the future of journalism, is what this Q&A covers. Please, add your questions and knowledge here!

#6 If You Link Your Statuses, Will Your Friends Still Love You? This and the final two in the top eight are posts basically about Facebook. They are hot in searches that lead to my blog. Here, I discuss my opinion of why you should not link your Twitter updates to Facebook.

#7 The Biggest Difference Between Facebook and Twitter. I posit it has to do with the more open culture of Twitter (one of the popular posts floating around about Facebook has to do with “100 privacy settings”).

#8 Facebook Pages are Better Than Groups. This post describes some of the differences between these two features, and some of the reasoning behind why I rarely if ever join new Facebook groups. It should be helpful for practitioners.