June 8, 2008

Twitter and government (or…something else on the Web we’re not doing)

Filed under: Government, Collaboration, social networking — kirk @ 9:30 am

By ‘we’ I mean government in general. What the heck is twitter?

It’s ‘micro-blogging’ and it’s getting traction. Check out this short post by Joshua Bullock at sumtingnu. You can also see what he’s up to during the day (via Twitter) here:
Want to start? Go to

So how can it help government? Some ideas are:

  • Getting a person to twitter about their workday for education (e.g., what is a fireman’s day like?)
  • Fast collaboration (e.g., what are the members of my team doing today?)
  • Digging people out of the woodwork to help you do your job (In Joshua’s experience, he’s already run into several new Web tools and resources from people responding to his ‘tweets’ (a Twitter post…yeah, I know…).
  • Jeff Davis suggests epetitions.

So are any government agencies tweeting? The Free Government Information blog lists several — including the FBI and Nasa….oh, and the British government (man, they kick our butts with social media).

Hmm..odd sidenote….who actually wrote this article? I’ve got two people claiming credit for it I think:

[Note: the folks at FGI cleared up for…same person..just cross posted…see the comments]

April 24, 2008

MAGIC (GIS) conference today April 24th

Filed under: Government, Collaboration, Missouri Mapping Project — kirk @ 8:35 am

Today I’m helping Mark Brunner of the Missouri Department of Conservation do a workshop on using Google maps at the MAGIC 2008 Symposium.

Here are some links I’m going to use during the presentation. Feel free to follow along :-)

A place we’ve all been to, but did you realize you can pull kmz or georss feeds into it? Go there and type in the following kmz or georss urls.

    (from the postings related to wildlife disease issues)
  • (georss from my blog)
  • /feeds/geo/?id=8753840@N06&lang=en-us&format=rss_200
    (a rather lame photo album of mine on Flickr…pulled via georss feed from Flickr)
    (by the way, get rid of the space after ’services’ when copying and pasting..had to do that to get the link to fit across two lines)

My links on cool Google map apps. and developer links on my account.

So where am I presenting? See the link below.

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January 31, 2008

Connecting to new generations

Filed under: Collaboration, blogging, nature — kirk @ 11:00 am

I’m in break right now, but wanted to post a couple of important links related to talks at the MNR Conference.

One of them is The Center for Generational Studies. They have some good material for understanding how to relate to next generations in the workplace. Robert Wendover (from the Center) gave a great talk on generational differences in the workplace. Robert also put a special link on the Center’s site for the MNRC containing resources related to his talk.

Louv’s talk was also great (more to come later). In the meantime, check out the Children and Nature Network site.

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Great source of slideshows

Filed under: Collaboration, blogging — kirk @ 2:42 am

I’ve been conspicously absent from here the last 3 to 4 months, but am now getting back into things online. In a future post, I’ll be able to fill you on some of the things I’ve been up to.

Right now I’m posting from the Missouri Natural Resource Conference 2008 down in Tan-Tar-A. Their theme this year: Get Ready for Change: Ensuring Resource Sustainability in an iPod® World (so they’re already thinking about future trends).

The keynote speaker? Richard Louv

More about that later. In the meantime, here’s a great presentation with some great facts about changes in worldwide trends….something to get people thinking about how we can no longer remain doing the same old things to reach people.

While you can’t understand every point made in this slideshow, you can learn some interesting facts about where we’re all going with this fancy schmancy web 2.0 stuff

It’s also a great introduction to slideshare, yet another social media application…this one dedicated to sharing slideshows.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to get excited about slideshows. However, the interesting thing about slideshare is that when you get thousands of slideshows in one place and vote on them, some really great presentations float to the top.

I’ve already found some excellent presentations on AJAX, the purpose of design in web development, etc.

Check slideshare out and see what I mean.

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July 20, 2007

GeoRSS, Googlemaps and outdoor recreation

Filed under: Government, Collaboration, Geotagging, Missouri Mapping Project — kirk @ 9:04 pm

Haven’t posted for awhile because I’ve been busy with a new project.

In short, I’m working with some folks to create a way that cities, non-government organizations, as well as state and federal agencies can easily syndicate information about their outdoor recreational facilities and services with each other in Missouri.

This project has two components: One is a method by which xml can be used to syndicate information between all the partners listed above. The other is the use of google maps as a low-cost solution to present that information.

The project came about in response to a common problem I’ve seen in many collaborative Web projects. Many collaborative Web projects, in my opinion, fail because of how they collect information. Usually, a collaborative site will contact many organizations and manually collect information to put in a master database. By the time that information is collected, however, some of the information is already outdated.

After the collaborative Web site is launched, how to you update the information? The traditional approaches are to either no update it, engage in a major manual update project every few years or ask agencies to come to one central Web site and help update the collaborative Web site. None of these approaches works well.

Why not create an environment where all partners in a collaborative site simply made sure that data on their own respective sites was up to date? And what if the collaborative site was able to just go to each partner site and grab the up to date information? This would allow partners to focus on keeping their own site up to date and it would automatically update the collaborative site.

That’s the idea behind what I’m currently calling the Missouri Mapping project.

I’ll be posting more information about over the next few months, but I’d like to make two points up front:

  1. This project could work for any state or country. In fact, the more states that adopt this project, the more would help this project
  2. I’m quite eager to get and use any input you have on this project, how it could be improved, and any other type of suggestion or resource you might have to help this better a better project.

My overall goal is to provide a mechanism that enables government to easily collaborate with non-government organizations or individual citizens — specifically when it comes to getting people outdoors to enjoy (and ultimately protect) our wildlife habitat.

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June 10, 2007

Can the public help you do your job?

Filed under: Government, Collaboration, Geotagging — kirk @ 9:47 am

Short story: Check out Ed Parson’s post regarding a recent report on how social media can enable the public to help government share data. His interest in this comes from his work as Google’s geospatial technologist (i.e., he can see how Google map mashups fit into this)

Long version of the story:

You already know part of this story. You have data the public wants, but you don’t have developers to build the interface you want. Here’s the new twist on the story. Why not have your developers focus on making your data accessible via xml and turn application development over to the public? Let the public help you share information.
Crazy idea? I don’t think so. And neither does Tom Steinberg, who helped craft the Power of Information Review. They make a compelling case for the social and economic benefits to new ways of making and sharing information involving government and citizens. As one example: Sharing restaurants’ food safety information in Los Angeles led to a drop in food- borne illness of 13.3% (compared to a 3.2% increase in the wider state in the same time frame). The proportion of restaurants receiving ‘good’ scores more than doubled, with sales rising by 5.7%.

If you don’t have time to read the whole report, check out the summary provided at Comment on This. (By the way, Comment on This, itself, is a great example of how social media can help the public help the government help the public…did I get that right?..yeah..)

The UK seems to have the trick on how to get social media to work for both government and the public. One great example is the ideal government project. This project encourages government agencies to make their data accessible via xml. Then they encourage the public to figure out the best way to make this information useful. Check out their recent contest for the public to mash up public data with maps. This is a great idea because it engages the public to create the best applications to serve the public good. However, it also means that, in the not too distant future, the best place where people get your information may not be your Web site…something government agencies may have to get used to.

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April 22, 2007

Higher education and social media

Filed under: Collaboration — kirk @ 8:06 pm

Dr James Council, Dean of Libraries at North Dakota State University, blogged an interesting viewpoint on where higher education is when it comes to social media. His take on social media and higher education? He fears that universities might be left in the dust — ignoring the modes of communication their students prefer to use on a daily basis.

Dr. Council seems intent on catching up at NDSU. It will be interesting to follow his blog over the next year to see how things go.

If (or when) higher education begins to use social media more, I have to wonder what new opportunities it will provide to students and educators to interact with government and business. When I was teaching new media at the University of Missouri — Columbia, it would have been great if I could have made a point concerning trends in the industry and then been able to point students blogs covering those issues. At that point students would have been able to pursue discussions on these trends.

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April 14, 2007

Social Media Summit (coming home)

Filed under: Collaboration, blogging — kirk @ 8:28 am

I spent Friday night getting up to speed with the tools discussed this week at the Social Media Summit. Quickly searched in Technorati and queried the phrase ’social media summit’. I immediately found the blogged thoughts of my fellow attendees as well as some presenters.

  • Lee Aase’s Lines from Lee
    • Lee was great in lowering the discomfort level of folks nervous about blogging. He made it look easy (and free!) Within the next day he was already supporting new bloggers on his site. The other great thing about Lee’s blog is that he has links to the presenters that, for one reason or another, didn’t show up on my narrow search in technorati…folks like Mayor Bill Gentes of Round Lake Il. This guy did a great matter-of-fact presentation on why government should blog. (I’ll have to focus later on Mayor Gentes and other folks in government already using social media.
  • Mark Jen’s plaxoed!
    • Mark is an entertaining conference presenter. He gave great examples of how bad blog reviews can quickly snowball and tip over into the mainstream media. The new social media doesn’t replace traditional media. However, it now is a powerful influence on what traditional media reports.
  • Kimberly Smith’s blog
    • To show how effective the summit’s an attendee who put up her own blog the last day of the conference. Look! no IT support needed! And look! in a Technorati search, she shows up right there with the people who are long-time users of blogs. This shows how social media begins to level the playing field on getting the word out to the public.
  • Janet Johnson’s The Art of Marketing
    • Even if I was too cheap to sign up for the pre-conference workshops, I can still get a peek of what workshop presenters like Janet were up to.
    • Now here’s the catch….hm…her entry was awhile back so I go to her site and she has an update….just not titled “Social Media Summit”…which makes sense. It’s about the conversation she had while here. By the way, go to her site for a good link to some ammunition you can use for making the case for blogging within your organization….check out her main blog…you’ll always find some good stuff for making the blog case…thanks Janet…sorry I was too cheap to go to the pre-conf. workshop now.

Not all the results were from blogs of the presenters or attendees. Industrywatcher, for example, has an entry mentioning Gordon Rudow, CEO of Bonfire Communications, who gave a fantastic after conference workshop on how to leverage new technologies to drive important conversations within your organization. The talk, however, turned out to be much more than that. He presented a method by which you can get your organization to focus on key communication goals for ANY communication product whether it’s a blog post or a paper poster. It was a fantastic talk considering he condensed what is usually a one or two day conference to 3 hours….great job.

[note to other conference folks: not only was the post conference stuff great but now that all you guys are gone I’m getting great bandwidth on Hyatt Regency’s network this morning]

Well, it’s time to pack and catch my flight back to Missouri, but to those summit folks who might be reading this, keep in touch.

April 11, 2007

Social Media Summit day 1

Filed under: Collaboration, blogging — kirk @ 7:47 pm

More to come late tonight after a grab a soda. But for now a couple of links I promised some folks:

Wired 15.04. The See-Through CEO

Good article on how the Internet and blogs should change business structure. If you click up from the article you’ll see the issue is dedicated to how business needs to be transparent in the new Web.

The machine is us/ing us.

A cool video using text (in various media and format) to show how information has moved from print to Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. It was created by a Kansas State anthropology class studying online social phenomena.

Check out what they’re up to on their class Web site:

April 10, 2007

Social Media Summit

Filed under: Government, Collaboration, blogging — kirk @ 8:56 pm

This week I’m at the Social Media Summit (hosted by This conference seems geared primarily at the social engineering required to get buy-in internally for your ‘Web 2.0′ projects (launching blogs, podcasts, etc.).

I hope to get some collaboration and contacts from this conference if I can find folks who are working in the NGO or government side of things.

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