Twitter Lists No Substitute for Community

While everybody’s still writing about Twitter Lists, I’ve got another thought that’s simply too long for a tweet.
The A-list talk is about status. That’s cool.
Personally, I like lists as a way to discover new recommendations in communities of interest, and also as a way to quickly tune into those communities. Creating and following locality-based lists also holds much possibilty. Then there is the great value of seeing how other community members see you, as based on how they tag you in their lists. But lists are never going to replace the utlity of the two-way connection on Twitter. Dipping into streams and commenting and going back and forth with replies and DMs forms real relationships that Lists are going to have little to do with. If all you do with Twitter is broadcast, Lists may be a bit more important (but only if they get followed, which most of them so far are not).
I don’t think Lists shake up the core of the human relationships and far-flung community engendered by Twitter.
(And look, here we are tweeting and blogging about Twitter again, after almost getting that out of our systems earlier this year.)

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Gov 2.0 Radio.

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Upcoming on Gov 2.0 Radio | 9 p.m. EST Sundays

November 1 – Brian Drake and Stephen Buckley | Fix It?
We discuss what’s working and what’s not in government with retired career fed Stephen Buckley and collaboration consultant Brian Drake. Drake is planning the Government 2.0 #FAIL workshop, while Buckley, who in the ’90s managed a 1,000 member “Reinventing Government” listserv, is working on an unconference around the forthcoming Open Government Directive.

November 8 – Ari Herzog | Doing it Your Way
With a bit of luck, by the time we go to air, Ari Herzog will be a new councilmember in Newburyport, Mass. We’ll discuss campaigns in the social media era, and what’s its like to be an independent consultant in this new media world.

November 15 – William D. Eggers and John O’Leary | Doing Big Things
Bill Eggers coined the term, “Government 2.0.” We’ll be talking to Eggers and co-author John O’Leary about their new book, “If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government.”

November 22 – David Hale | Health and Innovation
David Hale will join us for a discussion of biomedical informatics, Health 2.0 and evangelizing social media.

November 29 – Dustin Haisler | Creating What Comes Next
We’ll discuss innovation in local government with Dustin Haisler, CIO of City of Manor, Texas. Manor has just launched an innovation incubator, Manor Labs.

December 6 – Ben Berkowitz | Gov 2.0 and Quality of Life
We’ll be joined by Ben Berkowitz, CEO of SeeClickFix, a Web 2.0 company that helps crowdsource reporting and resolution of non-emergency city problems such as potholes and downed trees.

December 13 – Lewis Shepherd | What Comes Next
Lewis Shepherd is CTO of the Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments. Listen and call in as we squeeze the future out of Mr. Shepherd’s brain.

December 20 – Craig Thomler | Gov 2.0 Trends in Australia
Craig Thomler, a long-time public servant and e-gov practitioner, joins us for a discussion of emerging trends in Australia and the ups and downs of the e-gov movement.

Also coming soon, we’ll have Walter Neary and Barb Chamberlain talking local Gov 2.0; Lovisa Williams, Pam Broviak and others on government in Second Life; and Chris Dorobek, host of Federal News Radio, on the other side of the mic.

Listen and catch up with the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast at If you’d like to join us on a future show, e-mail adriel (at)

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Gov 2.0 Radio.

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Are You Tuned in to Gov 2.0 Radio?

Back in my days as a City Hall reporter, one of my very favorite things to do was the Comcast Citydesk Newshour show on local cable. Once a week, I’d get to chat live about politics and City Hall with some of The City’s top reporters, editorial writers and columnists. I was always rushing down to the TV studio in the Mission from my downtown office at The Examiner, and sometimes I’d arrive just in time to sneak in off camera and get miked up while show host Barbara Taylor was doing the intro.

Today, I’m having just as much fun with Gov 2.0 Radio (and I’ve only blown the start time once that I’ll cop to), the weekly show I host on BlogtalkRadio with the help of GovLoop’s Steve Ressler and GovTwit’s Steve Lunceford and great guests from government and Web 2.0. If you’re one of our regular listeners, thank you! If not, I hope you’ll check out the show live on Sundays, 9 p.m. EST, or as a replay, at Past shows are also available at, thanks to Luke Fretwell.

Past guests on the show have included well-know tech names such as Tim O’Reilly and Craig Newmark, and a wealth of great govies, academics and enterprise consultants such as Gwynne Kostin and Andrea Baker, as well as industry reps from companies like Overtone and Yakabod. Jeffrey Levy of the EPA and Federal Web Managers Council has been a repeat guest.

Coming up this week, we’ll have retired career fed Stephen Buckley and collaboration consultant Brian Drake on to discuss citizen-gov participation and the premise and promise of “open government.” Also upcoming on the show, the CEO of SeeClickFix, Microsoft big thinker Lewis Shepherd, William Eggers – author of 2005’s “Government 2.0,” and other great gov insiders and outsiders.

Hope you’ll tune in, and always feel free to drop me a line – @adrielhampton on Twitter – here, there or anywhere to suggest future guests for the show. You can also follow show promos on Twitter, @gov20radio. Thanks again!

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Gov 2.0 Radio.

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Semantics: Why Twitter Lists Rock

Lots has been said about Twitter Lists, and as they roll out to the entire community, lots more will be said. Robert Scoble is doing some great analysis, as are govies like Sarah Bourne of Mass.Gov. I have two big first impressions:

Lists are a fabulous discovery tool, a data rich and hand-picked crowd tagged with a descriptor by, most likely, one of your valued contacts. Lists from your real contacts, instead of being just another popularity measure, are going to open up their networks in a simple format that cuts right through spam and allows discovery whenever YOU feel like exploring. This benefit of lists was anticipated, and hopefully it will quiet down some of the Follow Friday noise of dataless name-dropping (though now folks can urge following of their lists!). One thing I’m looking forward to is a quick tool to follow individual handles off lists in your regular timeline, in bulk.

The second thing I saw while playing around last night is very important, and it also reduces spam and increases discovery. Lists provide a crowdsourced tagging system for each handle, along with builder-defined common communities. They teach others about you, and you about how you’re perceived. It’s the crowdsourcing of bios, and finally I can make sense of those who don’t fill theirs out. 🙂

What are you discovering about Lists?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Gov 2.0 Radio.

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Hollywood for Wordy People

Right now, social media power users are either going to (and jawboning about) conferences about social media all the time, or bashing said conferences. Sometimes sorta both. “Just use the tool and quit talking about it,” you’ll hear.

Now, I don’t go to many of the conferences, but I probably side more with the conference crowd than the conference critics. I find value in social, and value in talking about social. I like it that Twitter is Hollywood for Wordy People.

See, e-mail is still way bigger than social (you’ll be stunned by how many new blog posts are still popping up on e-mail tips), but you don’t see big e-mail conferences in LA and Vegas. And that’s because there’s something magical about open conversation and wordsmithing.

Elites from every niche imaginable are jumping into Twitter and other top social media sites, but even if they pull a million or two followers with them, the playing field has still been inexorably changed. In these mediums, gadflies are suddenly bigger than politicians. Watchdogs are bigger than cons. And on and on.

Are you a conference-goer or a conference hater? How have you seen social media shaking up traditional hierarchies?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Gov 2.0 Radio.

Wired to Share: The Importance of Teams


I’m plowing through the new Gary Vaynerchuk book “Crush It!” and really enjoyed his description of teamwork for business in Chapter 4, “a whole new world.” He uses an example of journalists, which I just happened to have been/to be. Vaynerchuk describes how top journalists in the new “personal brand” economy – enabled by low-to-zero-cost communications – could spin off to create their own successful content orgs. The book, despite some hype and stargazing, is also quite down-to-earth and practical: this hypothetical team of journalism stars just might need to hook up with someone skilled in business development to make their venture work.

This kind of teamwork is going to become more and more important as traditional institutions fall under their own weight in much more mobile and information-driven business world. Flexible teams – inside, outside and between large corporations – are also a large theme in one of my favorite books, Thomas Malone’s 2005 “The Future of Work.”

Putting together a team, even a loose one, is something I consider imperative to initiatives in the Web 2.0 world, even if it’s just to share the load and get moving quickly, as with the group hosting of my Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

In government or business, how are you using teams to optimize strengths, to launch quickly, and to adapt?

~Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.

Civil Service 2.0: You Won’t Need a Resume?

NoResumesIn the social media world, one of the big new pitches is that in the wonderful new reputation economy, you won’t need a resume. Potential business partners will find you on Google or a networking site, read your great bio, do a little independent noodling around into your background and decide to give you that killer contract.

Now, that vision is still quite a stretch in mainstream economy, where another storyline is that software programs are now giving stacks of resumes a first read before traditional analysts get to the digitally harvested cream of the crop. But it does happen.

In government, it happens, too, in certain at-will hiring situations (not talking about Van Jones, where it may have been a lack of pre-hire googling that did him in). But the truth of civil service is that it is highly bureaucratic and process oriented. Civil service reforms themselves drag on for years and often resolve only marginal concerns through concessions hammered out across the bargaining table.

Contracting is even worse, as large or favored entities get huge markups to provide quick short-term and project-oriented staff for public initiatives.

The questions looms large if we really are headed into a trust economy where Gen Y workers flit between projects and business entities become much more flexible: can government keep up? Will public agencies simply pay much more for that type of agility, or lose top talent in stodgy hiring and promotional practices?

Before social media, reputation-based hiring happened, too. So are we seeing a transformation, or do traditional civil service rules still apply?

What kinds of initiatives are you seeing out there? Where do you see this heading?

~Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.

I Bought Two New Books (and What It Means for Gov 2.0)

GaryveeWhen’s the last time you bought a book for full price? Straight up walked into a local bookstore and shelled out $19.99 or $24.99? If you’re like me, it’s a rare experience.

So it was quite unusual that this weekend I bought two new books, and on topics that I’ve been learning enough about free that I hardly needed them. Yes, I went totally fanboy this weekend when I found out that two social media luminaries were in town. I bought marketing blogger Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents and headed down to a tweetup in San Jose to meet him and get it signed. Then I headed over to Berkeley to buy Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! “Garyvee,” as the entrepreneur is known (pictured at right), signed books for a decent size crowd.

So why did I feel compelled to buy these guys’ books? Especially since with my immersion in social media and Gov 2.0 and the amount of free content Brogan and Garyvee churn out, I probably don’t need the books?

I guess I wanted to say with my money and my meager addition to their sales totals, that I appreciate them. And in why I appreciate them, I think there’s a lesson for Gov 2.0.

As I looked for Brogan’s book Saturday evening at Barnes & Noble, I found a single copy wedged in next to another social media title. As I walked out of the store, I thought about why I was buying Brogan’s book, and why I was about to meet a friend for an hour’s drive to meet the guy. I also thought about why I wasn’t buying this other book, by someone I’ve tweeted about and could probably meet in the Bay Area for even less effort. And it comes down to this simple fact: Brogan has made the effort to know who I am, the other guy hasn’t. And it’s not me, it’s that Brogan takes the time to organize and remember things about the folks who interact with him on social media, to respond and to teach. If you use social media to reach out to Brogan, he responds.

Garyvee does the same thing. In fact, I think the only reason I connected with him at one point is that someone was tweeting one of his talks and I criticized it. He reached out with something like, “E-mail me, I’d like to know what you think.” Pretty basic, and the guy doesn’t really know me from Adam. But he centers his business model, the whole “personal brand” thing that’s huge in new media, around appreciating people and treating them as important. In his brief pre-signing chat, he said his favorite type of customer is the one who vocally complains, because that gives him a chance to make things right. He pointed out a chat he’d just had on Twitter where he won over a critic of his book.

And he went on to say that he knew the book was going to do well (it has hit the NY Times best-sellers list, as has Trust Agents) because he knew how many people he’d reached out to through Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. People like me who could happily get most of his insights for free were now happily lining up to buy his brief advice book.

So what does this have to do with Gov 2.0? Simply that touches matter. The same affinity that makes me a fan of Brogan and Garyvee can and will endear citizens to governments and officials who show the effort to care (or turn citizens off to those who don’t). Try it. It works.

~Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.

Where it Stops, Nobody Knows

Recapping a few events from this week …

Today I ducked into the second of a three-part “Lunch for Good” series, engaging offline about how to improve life online. The event by (CEO JR Johnson above left) put a bunch of Webheads together to discuss increasing critical thinking online.

I’m not a big events person, but I was around for the height of the dot-com boom, and I have to say that Web 2.0 has a much better feel. Without as much money sloshing around, there is a bit more purposefulness to this redux. Since my first intro to 2.0 in 2005, that feeling has only grown. Not the most critical thinking, I know. Maybe I’ll return to this later.

photo: (cc) Kenneth Yeung –

Last night, I sat on a “Politics 2.0” panel in Sacramento (catch the Ustream video here, with the program starting at 1:04) with Facebook CPO and AG candidate Chris Kelly, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, CEO Duncan McFetridge, and Josh Franco of John Garamendi for Congress. I focused on how collaborative technologies and social media are shaking up broadcast media and traditional politics, but haven’t yet settled down enough for anyone to know quite what it all means. Or something like that.

And I was happy to hear that the Garamendi campaign really did feel the new media competition (I ran in the primary against Garamendi, the CA Lt. Governor, and got more new Twitter followers than votes out of the effort), at least according to Franco.

Monday night, along with new media enthusiast and Realtor Jonathan Fleming, I put on a second run of our “Citizen 2.0” training, urging folks from the Tri-Valley Democratic Club to lead from the grassroots using social media technologies. If you’re interested in helping lead bottom-up change using Web 2.0 tools, feel free to use our slideshow and join the Facebook page.

The week’s happenings reinforced my view that Gov 2.0 democratic reforms in governance and politics are in their infancy. The Gov 2.0 movement is not well known, social media is still pretty scary to lots of great folks, and entrenched systems aren’t going to up and change because we want them to. However, there are also plenty of folks out there wired to share, and spreading the word.

~Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.

Stay Wired to Share


This evening I was reminded about a point Canadian govie Nick Charney made in a recent chat – tools like Twitter are fantastic for connecting those in government (or anywhere, really) who are “wired to share.” That resonates with my strong opinion that “Government 2.0” is about a culture, not any particular set of tools. Whenever folks start wanting to can the term, which is indeed becoming a bit played, I simply think “democracy.”

Also this week, I was hearing a lot about SharePoint, the enterprise social network Microsoft sells to government agencies. One of the passing comments I noticed was an argument that Twitter and Facebook and the like will never be fully applicable to government (again, extend this argument to anywhere) because critical information isn’t protected.

Now, most of my readers know that I’m a big fan of GovLoop, the Ning-based social network focused for government employees. The reason I like GovLoop is is does exactly what a locked-down enterprise network doesn’t – it cuts through silos to get folks from all different agencies and levels of government talking with each other. Twitter functions in quite the same way.

So here’s the issue – the problem IS NOT security. The problem is that there aren’t really that many people whose default mode is sharing. Social media is radically changing things by allowing us to connect and share, but we’re still a minority in a very large, very hierarchical, command and control structure.

So, I say we ought to drop all the “midlife crisis” talk. We’re vastly outnumbered, the movement’s popularity right now is accepted as a “fad,” and if we buy into that, the momentum for reform is lost. This is a long, hard battle – one of those generational struggles.

Will we rise with collaboration, trust and openness, or will we be swallowed in a Sargasso Sea of bureaucracy or jump over to the private sector?

~Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.