CrowdCampaign turns Twitter into a Crowdsourcing Engine

I recently wrote about giving your suggestion box a 2.0 twist with low-cost online collaboration and voting technologies. Crowdsourcing from stakeholders and front-line employees is one of the key areas where Web 2.0 technologies can help government, and last week I had the opportunity to talk with Clinton Bonner about CrowdCampaign, a Twitter app that allows users to quickly assemble branded crowdsourcing contests.
In addition to Twitter voting, the tool can also be used in conjunction with internal panels, ensuring that deep analysis goes into the mix with the viral social media components. The tool has been used for calls for speakers and papers, and can easily be adapted for just about any kind of crowdsourcing effort. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to try the free demo.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

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Diabetes Fighters Win GovLoop Charity Contest

I want to give a quick shout out to GovLoop and Adventures for the Cure. GovLoop, the “Facebook for Government,” wound down a great year with a charity contest that used crowdsourcing tech to allow members to nominate and vote for charities and to raise money by inviting friends and completing challenges. The contest ended up with more than 100 charities in the running, and 3,000 votes.
Thanks to new members and four stalwarts who completed the challenge, GovLoop donated $1,789 to Adventure for the Cure, a charity startup (also a cycling team!) created by two Gen Y govies that funds diabetes camps for kids in U.S. and Kenya. GovLoop members are also raising money for developing country entrepreneurs through our own Kiva lending team.
If your a government employee or contractor and haven’t yet joined GovLoop, hopefully 2010 will be your year. The community is also discussing opening up the site more to non-members, making it easier to share great news and share best practices from inside local, state and federal government.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

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#Gov20 Resources for 2010 – Please Add!

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2009 was inarguably a great year for the Gov 2.0 movement. I’ll trust folks like Andrea DiMaio, Steve Radick, Gwynne Kostin, Tim O’Reilly and Mark Drapeau to make that point better than I can.

But what I did want to offer in terms of sort of a year-end wrap are a number of links to resources that I found helpful during the year. This is pretty much the list of links I e-mail to officials looking to get started in social media, from policy to practice. I hope you find it useful, and that you’ll add more resources in the comments.

Please add your favorite resources. First is from Jenn Gustetic, who points out a developing wiki on the Open Government Directive.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

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Is 2010 the Year #Gov20 becomes #Gov2?

Did you know that the term “gov 2” simply crushes all other variations of the Gov 2.0 meme in global Google search traffic? Check it out – more than triple the searches for “government 2.0” and more than 10 times “gov 2.0.”
I wish I could explain what this means. (O’Reilly Media is onto the search trend, and the Australian Gov 2.0 Taskforce also owns results traffic). I’m not sure whether it’s an indication that the meme will get shorter in 2010, or simply an artifact of other searches.
You’ll notice from the stats that Gov 2.0 has a long way to go to even penetrate the popular consciousness. For those of us advocating tech-enabled government and governance reform, this search trend deserves attention.
In 2008, there was a short-lived effort to rename Gov 2.0. In 2010, will global traffic do it for us?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

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Best Twitter Compliment? “I Read Your Page”

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If you’ve been on Twitter very long, you’re probably not really reading much of the stream you’ve set up. And if you’re new, you might be struggling to figure out how to keep up with the growing number of updates from your Twitter connections (hint, unless you limit your followings to double digits you simply won’t keep up).
Even when you find time to read into the stream for a while, it’s going to be just a fraction of the 24/7 updates that keep churning by.
But despite the “drinking from a firehouse” metaphor, there is a way to keep up with the best updates. You pull up someone’s individual stream from an app or at Twitter.com/username.
With a person like me, who uses a lot of @ replies to specific individuals in their Twitter updates, that’s going to be messy and not so useful. But for the tip-top tweeters, every few days it’s a must. I regularly pull up the complete list of updates from Mark Drapeau (@cheeky_geeky), and sometimes for Ari Herzog (@ariherzog) and Andrew Krzmarzick (@krazykriz) as well.
How about you? Are there Twitter users whose whole stream you find a must read? Let us know about them – and you – in the comments.~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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Five Tips for Blog Posts that Pop on Twitter

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For niche and fledgling bloggers, it can be quite intimidating to see public stats around some of the big dogs of the blogging world. “There go another 482 retweets for Chris Brogan’s latest post!” you might think, with more than hint of envy. In this post, I want to examine a few ways to get your original content to pop on Twitter. These tips are draw from my experience over the last few days, where a relatively innocuous pair of posts churned into massive retweeting, reblogging, and a news radio interview.
Headline. Headline. Headline. When I was a newspaper headline writer, with a relatively captive audience and little tracking of how well my headlines did, clever was king. “Blue Period,” to describe a stand-alone photo of cops selling their artwork for charity, “Alone in the Arctic, Physician Must Heal Herself,” you get the drift.
If you want your post circulating on Twitter, you need a much snappier headline. Clever in this medium is selling the post, and selling it hard. “How to” is good, and so, I learned, is the descriptive “kick-ass.”
Tap into a community. Blog what you know, or ask and learn what you don’t.
I’m known as a Gov 2.0 thinker. In that community, most of my posts get a bit of circulation. There is no surprise there, because I’ve put in a lot of hard work to build with and grow with the community. Recent posts on the vibrant Edmonton, AB Twitter community – which I’m only recently familiar with – worked because the community was already there and ready to help spread the word about its success.
Build anticipation. Tweet out teaser questions. Propose draft themes as tweets. Most of my high traffic posts and great participation in my Gov 2.0 podcast come from engaging early and often on Twitter.
Name names. You like seeing your name in posts and tweets, right? So does everybody else. So credit ideas, draw from blog comments; if you get answers on Twitter or in blog comments, credit the authors. When I used to write a political column, I’d squeeze in as many names as I could – and you can bet every one of those people read it when their name was in it, and passed it on to friends.
Make your success theirs. By tapping into a community and naming names, you’re ensuring that if the post pops, the community benefits. Early retweeters benefit, too, as they get traffic by passing on the info. And public retweet counters on your posts make people feel a part of something when the post starts to go big.
So go out there and make those posts pop!
(Bonus: For great tips about making it easy for others to pass on your blog posts, check out Brogan’s, “How Does This Share.” My Posterous blog has done much better than WordPress in terms of traffic, and I think that’s highly due to the built-in sharing mechanisms.)

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Want to help? Learn more about Gov 2.0, and host local Gov 2.0 tweetups and meetups.

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How to Build a Kick-Ass Twitter Community

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I recently wrote about the vibrant Twitter community organized around the hashtagging of the airport code for Edmonton, AB (#yeg). The use of the regional tag to organize Edmonton community tweets began in summer of 2008, and has become so popular it now grows organically without much thought to its backstory.

I’ve long argued that Twitter is very powerful for community building, with special value for generating civic engagement and pride and boosting local businesses. Knowing the benefits, and realizing them, though, is very different. Edmonton’s Twitter community has really blazed a trail, and it’s worth examining its success and drawing out a few lessons for would-be imitators.

According to #yeg enthusiasts who responded to my inquires on Twitter and my blogs, local software developer Mack Male and other influential social media enthusiasts deserve much of the credit for the tags’s success (the YEG airport code, now in common vernacular in Edmonton, was not used to describe the region before achieving Twitter popularity). Male regularly updates stats on Edmonton’s Twitter community, and in October cataloged more than 5,600 locals at least semi-active on Twitter and more than 18,000 tweets using the #yeg tag. There appear to be hundreds of Twitter users using the #yeg tag as part of their daily lives, and in-person meeutps get dozens of attendees (no small feat for Twitter communities, at least today).

Male, in a year-in-review blog post this past June, describes advocating the #yeg tag after learning at a conference that Twitter users in Calgary, AB, were organizing around their airport code, #yyc. (Twitter users in Victoria, BC, are also successfully using their airport code, #yyj).

This brings us to one of the first points that makes #yeg successful, and perhaps explains #yyc and #yyj as well: in a harsh climate isolated geographically, airport codes take on greater significance because residents are used to flying whenever they need to get somewhere else.

The #yeg buzzcronym also works because it’s easy to pronounce (rhymes with “egg”) and good for new self-referential words, says Edmonton journalist Karen Unland. Edmonton’s Twitter folk lovingly refer to one another and themselves as “yegsters” and “yeggers” (or “yeg’ers,” a construction that better utilizes Twitters search grouping function). They’ve built out the tag’s utility with features such as Edmonton traffic updates.

Edmonton’s yegsters have also built their community by taking the interaction offline, with tweetups organized around charities, political reform, open data, and other civic concerns. (Here’s a short video from a December tweetup benefiting the local food bank, courtesy of #yeg documentarian Jerry Aulenbach.) The hashtag unites Edmonton’s Twitter users around civic pride and involvement – even if they don’t follow each other in the traditional Twitter stream, many check up on the tag for its local flavor, discovering new connections and community in the process.

So, what is unique to Edmonton’s hashtagging that cannot be repeated elsewhere? Unique geography and a single regional airport seem important. Tourist hubs like Los Angeles, Vancouver, Los Angeles or San Francisco might simply suffer from random clutter (the SF Bay Area, where I live, is so large and full of urban and suburban density points, #sfo will likely never be much more than an airport). Jas Darrah, an Edmonton civil servant, emphasizes that adoption of #yeg was no accident and required key influencers actively promoting and training on its use. That included local press, institutions and government.

So, where might #yeg’s success be replicated? In the U.S., I’d suggest cities with significant populations and semi-isolated geography: Spokane, WA (GEG); Portland, OR (PDX); Bakersfield, CA (BFL); Tucson, AZ (TUS); Albequerque, NM (ABQ); Colorado Springs, CO (COS); Wichita, KS (ICT); Tulsa, OK (TUL); Pittsburgh, PA (PIT). Due to the aforementioned pronounceability factor, GEG, COS, TUL, and PIT gain an edge.

Let’s get this party started!

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

photos of the December yegtweetup by Jerry Aulenbach