Gov 2.0 Radio: Talking State and Local Social Media

RadickMuch of the energy around Gov 2.0 is coming from the federal government, to the point that the O’Reilly Media folks are heading to DC for their first big government-focused tech conference (more on that later).
KeithleyThis week, though, Gov 2.0 Radio will focus on state and local agency applications for Web 2.0 and social media. Joining the discussion will be MarCom strategist and experienced Gov 2.0 practitioner Cara Keithley, and Steve Radick, social media lead for Booze Allen Hamilton. Join us Sunday , 2/5 p.m. EST!

Photo of Radick by Joelogon

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District. He has pledged to vote against funding for expansion of the Iraq and Afghan wars.

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Gov 2.0 Quick Hits

0001The official San Francisco City Attorney’s Office Twitter account has surpassed 1,000 followers and is the in the 97th percentile of influential accounts. … Sid Burgess, veteran and former councilman is launching Cities of Vision, a collaborative blog focused on planning and development. … Roanoke County has published a new social media policy, welcoming other agencies to borrow/copy its good work. … Upcoming on Sunday’s edition of Gov 2.0 Radio, Andrew Wilson of the Health and Human Services Department social media team and civil servant Dan Deakin, who tweets as MedC2. We’ll be discussing social media for emergency response and preparedness (salmonella and swine flu being recent examples) and the potentials of Web 2.0 crowdsourcing for research. Join us for what’s sure to be a wide-ranging and lively discussion.

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

Join the Citizen 2.0 Movement

Citizen_20Much has been written on using the social tools of Web 2.0 to increase and enhance citizen participation. I want to remind you about a Facebook page and recent training on the subject. Join the movement!

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

Recruiting and Vetting Job Candidates Using Social Tools

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Government agencies, especially municipalities, face many challenges in adapting HR divisions to best practices for recruiting, vetting and retaining the best and the brightest of the under-40 workforce. In San Francisco, the workforce now averages 46 years old, and recruitment of Generation X and Millennial Generation workers is constrained. To address this, public agencies must develop policies that address the new realities of how younger workers find jobs and blend live-work balance. These concerns must also be balanced with privacy rights, EEO, and the perceptions of older workers.

Online social sharing sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and a plethora of others are becoming increasingly popular. For example, Facebook claims more than 200 million active users, more than half of who log in to the site at least once a day. Surprisingly, the site’s fastest demographic is those over 35 years old. Google search is also being increasingly used to vet job candidates.

In a 2008 paper presented at the International Communications Association meeting in Canada (“Cybervetting [Potential] Employees: An Emerging Area of Study for Organizational Communication”), B.L. Berkelaar points out the Google had become “old fashioned” in the face of the plethora of “formerly inaccessible, often detailed information about potential job candidates available through social sharing sites.

Scary? Or Not.

Much of the written material on this topic is negative, such as Carly Brandenburg’s article in the Federal Communications Law Journal (Vol. 60) ” The Newest Way to Screen Job Applicants: A Social Networker’s Nightmare.” Brandenburg cites the preponderance of social groups on Facebook with subjects such as sex, drugs, pornography and alcohol. She cites a study by CareerBuilder.com (widely cited on this topic) that surveyed 1,150 hiring managers nationwide, in which 12 percent said they had searched for applicants on social sites. Of those, 63 percent reportedly did not hire based on what they found with those searches. Bradenburg also points out that reasonable expectation of privacy does not exist for many candidates active on social sites. The his landmark book about the changing nature of work and business, “The World is Flat,” Thomas Friedman writes that early educators must demonstrate how online behavior may affect offline employment and career growth. He also mentions ReputationDefender, another often-cited company, that helps professionals maintain a “clean” online profile.

A recent book by Ethica Publishing includes a chapter on, “Social Networking Privacy and Its Effects on Employment Opportunities” (N. Kennedy, M. Macko, “Convenient or Invasive”): “Currently, no regulations exist to protect job candidates from harassment of this sort,” Kennedy and Macko write. And yet, “41% of the 100 students surveyed actually found it ethical for employers to use social networking sites in hiring decisions, and 57% of employers thought the same.”

In marked departure from “nightmare” scenarios in the popular press and some literature, government officials I consulted in developing this memo are optimistic about social sites as a way to build and retain their workforces. Sitka, AK, hiring manager Mark Danielson uses social sites to spread word of official recruitments. Fairfield County, VA, already has official guidance for its employees using social networks in their official capacity. The U.S. State Department and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are both actively developing and legally vetting policies to promote the appropriate use of social sharing sites by their employees.

In 2007, Michael Mann (“Google Your Applicants: Prospective Employers are Increasingly Vetting Candidates’ Web Pages,” New Jersey Law Journal, June) wrote, “hiring committees would be foolish to ignore the treasure trove of information the Internet offers about prospective associates. Recruiters should pay attention to the mens rea of the potential hire, if you will. Postings that were not within the control of the student should be given far less weight in an evaluation of that person’s professional character than those that a student clearly put up on his own.

Get on Board, or Get Left Behind

In a May 2007 Harvard Business Review case study, “We Googled You,” John G. Palfrey, Jr., executive director of the BerkmanCenter for Internet & Society at Harvard Law, argues that employers must adapt to the new world of Web social sharing: “Given the trend, hiring standards will have to change, or you just won’t be able to hire great people,” he said. “The generation gap will continue to widen until the digital natives become CEOs and HR executives themselves.”

City governments can lead in this arena by developing job-applicant vetting processes that incorporates appropriate laws (the Fair Credit Reporting Act for third-party reports on applicants, and non-discrimination laws for all screenings). Cities will also need to set up official accounts for recruitments and screenings and provide training. Because literature and interviews on this subject suggest a generally haphazard approach to the use of social tools by employers, this is a chance for government to lead.

Avoiding Pitfalls through Transparency and Collaboration

San Francisco and many other U.S. cities are full of “creative class” workers with high standards and innovative working habits. Developing policies to attract and retain these employees should be an imperative for cities. New policies and acceptance of the changing nature of the urban and networked workforce must be a high priority for policymakers. We can achieve success in this area by openly sharing draft policies and seeking union partnership through the educational meetings that incorporate feedback from labor. Draft policies may be published on “wiki” sharing sites where comments can be captured and incorporated into the policy.

Objections to new policies by employees, labor leaders and privacy advocates must be met with education, transparency and a willingness to incorporate best practictes from outside experts and feedback from affected communites.

Minimal Costs, Maximum Benefit

Handled proactively, the use of social sites to expand recruitments and to vet potential candidates will save the cities from costly advertorial and job fair recruitments with a minimal up-front investment in education, policy development and training.

Practical Policy Development

A policy of this weight must be fully aired, with input from policymakers, labor and other stakeholders. However, a draft would be simple and pointed:

“The City, recognizing the changing landscape of technologically enhanced communication, hereby establishes policy goals for the use of social networking sites in the use of recruiting and vetting job candidates.

“City hiring managers will use official accounts on sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to advertise and promote job announcements.

“The City will develop a policy to assess candidate’s strengths and weaknesses based on available online information, taking into account intentionality of content and complying with all provisions of EEO and related City laws and guidelines. This effort will comply with terms of use of individual networking sites, as well as policy guidance to enhance transparency and privacy protections. Official City accounts will not “friend” potential applicants and will access only fully public information from social networks.

“The purpose of this policy is to increase the hiring and retention of “digital natives” – computer-savvy workers who use these sites on a daily basis for life and work.

“Prior to adoption of any official policy, the City will meet with labor and other stakeholders, and will post draft policies online and at City Hall for comment”

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

It’s Not 2.0 Until Gov Listens

Girl_Listening

Though I’ve been crazy busy over the past several weeks, it’s been a good busy. I’ve been networking with great social media and Gov 2.0 minds, and even having some of those folks seek me out after online interactions. One thing I’ve learned that is constantly being reinforced is that “there is nothing new under the sun.”

As much as we like to think Web 2.0 is a real “new,” or that inter-linking citizens with the government is radical change, there are plenty of folks who have been working on these issues of mass collaboration for decades. One I met in person recently is Kim Patrick Kobza. Check out his Neighborhood America.

One of the newcomers to the Gov 2.0 scene is Luke Fretwell, who just started a gov feed aggregator called “GovFresh.” I’ll be interested to see how it evolves.

Sunday on Gov 2.0 Radio, we’ll be hosting a new acquaintance, Neil Patil, CMO at Overtone, in discussion with Gov 2.0/social media strategists Maxine Teller and Peter Corbett. Overtone provides listening and rapid response systems for social media and portals, parsing massive amounts of user feedback into actionable intelligence.

As Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 get their sea legs, they are going to have to start listening more and learning how to incorporate the radical direct democracy they are helping to enable. That will be at the core of our discussion on this Sunday’s podcast. Please join us, 2/5 p.m. EST.

Thank you!

Photo from Flickr, by Lanuiop

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

The Sixth Stage of Chris Brogan

Bald BroganPhoto_091408_007Back in January, I wrote a fun little blog post called “The Six Stages of Chris Brogan“:

IGNORANCE > COMPETITION > AWE > FORGETFULNESS > LOVE.

I left the sixth stage undefined.

Today, I’m ready to define the sixth stage as simply ACCEPTANCE (h/ts to all the folks who commented on the last post, and to Danny Brown and Andrew Weaver, who pointed out that the dude abides).

See, after you go through the first five stages of Chris Brogan, you’ve learned a lot from the marketing genius, you’ve hopefully found your niche, your “microfame” in social media, as Chris might say. You’re happy for you to be you, and for Chris to be Chris.

Thanks, Mr. Brogan, for all you teach us.

Photo credit to @chrisbrogan – Creative Commons image used with permission. He’s the one on the left, and he shaved his head for charity. Me, I just missed a spot with the clippers and had to go whole hog.

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

Twitter’s Clownish Attention to Growth Over Utility

ClownTwitter, the popular microblogging site, hit perhaps its biggest roadbump yet with users on Tuesday, when it eliminated the feature of following the conversations of people you aren’t connected with (which it deemed a “Small Settings Update”). Instead of simply making a more user-friendly default mode, Twitter deleted the option altogether, deeply offending a core user base who used the feature to find new people and expand networks.

The reaction was swift and harsh from power users. The move, which comes after a softer backlash to “celebretization” of Twitter, is deeply wrongheaded. Twitter should learn from the rage against arbitrary Facebook changes, and MySpace’s failure to define itself, and quickly return to a user-centric model, not a clownish attention to growth over utility.

Photo by David Reece.

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.