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Archive for March, 2010

I’ve never been much of a technologists, but communicating about government reform using network tools has quickly translated into a certain level of thought leadership in gov new-tech circles. However, as a City of San Francisco friend reminded me over lunch today, innovation ≠ technology. My driving interest in Gov 2.0 centers on flattened hierarchies, use of modern tools for a modern government, and adoption of the collaboration mindset of the digital natives who are beginning to pour into government ranks.
My colleague, who runs San Francisco’s Neighborhood Empowerment Network, and I discussed using social media for post-emergency capacity building, or fostering a civil society that can survive and recover from disaster. In the Bay Area, where the next major earthquake will be the defining moment for future administrations and thousands of public employees and neighborhood leaders, the most valuable innovation is around strategies for citizen networks that can survive and rebuild through major disruption.
In the near term, these networks can be used to improve neighborhood cohesion, link volunteers, and tie taxpayers, public employees and elected officials more closely in purpose and vision.
I’m very interested in how social media and grassroots networks like Ning can be used in capacity building. Can the scalability of social media unite and empower civic doers along the traditionally observed 90-9-1 model, putting together key leaders in the hundreds of San Francisco neighborhood groups with more passive community members who are informed and empowered by openness and collaborative processes? Could scores of prominent neighborhood and issue-oriented blogs and static Web sites contribute to such a network, cross-pollinating their local readerships, supplementing and expanding real-world communities through social media? Could elected officials find value in citizen networks that help provide organic solutions and policy direction?
I think so.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and co-founder of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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(Apologies for the non-original headline, but it’s perfect in so many ways)
Despite having owned an original blue clamshell iBook and an occasional iPod, I’m definitely not an Apple fanboy. Which is one big reason I looked on the coming iPad with disdain. However, a few weeks back I was watching my 5-year-old son struggle to use a mouse to drag the browser slidebar on one of my netbooks, and I realized that we have surrounded ourselves with succeeding generations of tech that are utterly anti-human, and, with today’s technology, no longer needed. My next personal computer will be a tablet, and I’m eager to see how a humanistic interface changes my media production (really not sure about text blogging on a tablet). Most of all, I look forward to my sons exploring the world without a mouse and (what we know as a) browser. Check out the latest cover piece from Wired for more.

– Adriel Hampton is producer of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast and a San Francisco public servant.

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I m prone to idea flurries. Regularly, these idea flurries result in some kind of social media project. They ve often included a domain name, and, back before we called it social media, a blog. Some have been successful, like savecivicpark. Others, not so much, like enviroinvestors or traveltokyojapan.
In the last couple years, the idea flurries have begun to center on social sites like Facebook and, increasingly, Twitter. All of this to lead into a little project I kicked off this past weekend, citizensuite. What is it? Well, right now, it s a domain name and a Twitter account retweeting open data information. What it will be, I m not quite sure, either. But what it *wants* to be is a response to the services commoditization component of Gov 2.0. With OpenID reaching out to government, open API projects like Open311, and the increasingly mobile-yet-connected and borderless lifestyle of the middle class, we are quickly approaching an era of My.gov (hat tip to journalist Alexander Howard for that term). Imagine a near future where the central unit of government and business is not a state or municipality, not a corporation, but the individual or a decentralized coalition of individuals. That s not to say that the traditional institutions will disappear, but they will become increasingly less powerful. The idea behind citizensuite is that services and products need to be puzzle pieces that build a picture of civic life around those individuals and networks. That s what I was thinking about this weekend, that and that the browser is a prison.

– Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and producer of the Gov 2.0 podcast. Sometimes he has idea flurries.

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There are certain governments that quickly come to mind as groundbreakers in the fledgling Gov 2.0 movement: State of Utah, City of San Francisco, City of DC, Manor, TX. Edmonton, Alberta is making critical strides of awesomeness in joining that pack. From last week’s Open311 announcement to Saturday’s Open City Workshop, Edmonton – known on Twitter as Yeg in line with its airport code – is making huge moves to improve civic life through technology and community collaboration.
Yesterday, Edmonton CIO Chris J. Moore was widely quoted as telling attendees, “You are the strategy.” Moore is a pretty cool dude. His office has no desk, just couches and a laptop, so I’m told. (I’ll pin that and more rumors down when Moore visits SF in April.) Saturday, he announced several new “Open City” initiatives: a new app for reporting quality of life issues; a new partnership with Code for America on improving local technology; moving IT services to the cloud; and an app-building contest with a $50,000 kitty.
Edmonton has a vibrant social media community, which I’ve written about before. I’m excited to see what the future brings. I’ve also put together a list of folks on Twitter involved in the Open City discussion, and you can follow them here.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and producer of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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3/14/10 – Donald McIntosh of SpaceTimeResearch.com on data visualization
3/28/10 – Jess Weiss and Brad Blake from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on social media in government
4/1/10 – ReadMedia on creating social media for local governments
4/11/10 – Gretchen Curtis on Nebula, NASA’s cloud computing initiative
4/18/10 – Ted Nguyen and RailSafeSarah of the OCTA on using social media for engagement
4/25/10 – Christina Gagnier and Lisa Borodkin on the legal implications of social media in government
5/2/10 Sid Burgess and OK State Rep. Jason Murphey
5/9/10 – Joel Whitaker on using social media and emerging technologies for world peace
5/16/10 – Amy Sinclair of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on that agency’s integrated social media efforts
5/23/10 – Armed with Science
5/30/10 – OhMyGov!
June – Beth Noveck, White House lead for the Open Government Initiative
~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and producer of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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This is a quick ramble about time, and about some favorite Twitter tools.
First, time. I know that people use different social tools in different ways. However, I’ll always fight for two-way communication when that’s what the tool enables. That’s also because it’s offensive when someone wants to give you all their ideas and thoughts, but doesn’t respond to you on their channel, whether that’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, a blog, whatever. That’s me, and I’m sure there are plenty of other opinions out there.
To consider – a Golden Rule for the social Web: Respect others’ time as you would have others respect your time.
Another one about me – I actively seek to engage with and increase my networks, and to balance that with my family and many other concerns, some of them much more important than the network. I also aim to respond to people quickly and directly – I’m not real fond of phone calls, or of e-mails (for first point of contact), but if you tweet me, I’ll usually get back within in a few hours.
Using Twitter tools to manage networks and productive time: three tools I’m very fond of these days are TweepleML, which enables one-click follow for lists of people (please load more of yours, it’s a little tilted toward spammy mutual-follow schemes right now); TheTwitCleaner, which cleans up spammers from the list of folks you’re following; and, MyTweeple, an oldy and goody, which I use for identifying and pruning non-mutual follows.
What are you thinking about time and Twitter tools these days?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and producer of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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