Common-Nature

April 25, 2007

Social media and conscience

Filed under: syndicated media — kirk @ 10:12 pm

I’m writing about recent ad campaign of the National Crime Prevention Council for two reasons.

First, cyberbullying is a serious social problem. While the NCPC focuses on bullying among teens, I’ve seen grown adults engage in the same tactics.

The second reason why I’m writing about it, is to note how NCPC is promoting this campaign….by videos submitted to ifilm.com and flash media ads. In both cases, it is relatively easy to embed the videos (by following the embed links ifilm provides) or by embedding the Flash ad by copying and pasting the embed tag in your Web page. For those of you not familar with how this is done. When you embed the code provided, the video appears in your Web page even though the video actually resides on another server.
For government looking to raise awareness and gain grassroots support, take note how this ad campaign syndicated their content. Could it work for you?

April 24, 2007

KML? GML? GeoRSS? When should you use what?

Filed under: Geotagging — kirk @ 2:11 pm

Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist of Google, has a blog post, Mass Market Standards, where he discusses what the future may hold for mass media adoption of geospatial XML standards. He invites interested parties to weigh in on the issue of when GML, KML and GeoRSS should be used. I have a few opinions, but join in the conversation.

I’m still a newcomer to this area, but this is how it would split out for me (although I’m happy to see how other’s make the split).

KML: Great for either specialized client/server applications or aggregation systems that then can present segments of the information via a centralized site. When you take the compression of KMZ files, you have a format that can syndicate large amounts of geospatial data. (one file set I work with totals out at 6MB uncompressed)

GeoRSS: My choice (at this point) for getting diverse communities to exchange geospatial information. From my experience in government, I can know that many government entities may already have RSS capabilities. If so, you can show these folks how to use GeoRSS. For groups that have little technical resources, the markup of GeoRSS provides a low level entry point to providing geospatial data.

GML: If the members of your community are GIS specialists, then I would imagine this is the XML flavor of choice. However, it would think (due to the large size of the data sets involved) its use would be limited to synchronization of data from server to server…with each server then providing stripped down data access to a Web client.

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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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Googlemaps now play well with GoogleEarth’s KML files

Filed under: Geotagging — kirk @ 10:47 am

In late March of 2007, Google’s Blog announced that Googlemaps now supports GeoRSS and the KML file used by GoogleEarth.

This is a great move since it opens the door for having one xml document that can be read by more than one application.

There are some limitations to this interaction, however. The Missouri Dept. of Conservation, for example, has all of their conservation areas in a KML file for use in GoogleEarth. This file contains polygon information that displays the boundary of these areas.

This makes for a hefty file (6Mb). If you try to pull a file that size into the Googlemap interface, you won’t succeed. However, I pulled a snapshot of some of the areas into my own KML file (so these results are dated as of April 20, 2007) and pulled it into an example. If you want to read more about MDC’s GoogleEarth file, you can read about it on Matt Fox’s, Google Earth Library blog (he’s got some great coverage of other issues related to syndication of map information.
Some things to note:

  1. Many KML files are quite large and are zipped as KMZ files. Googlemaps cannot read these.
  2. Googlemap will probably choke on large KML files. I don’t think this could easily be fixed since the API requires javascript grabbing the KML file.
  3. The KML files when read into Googlemaps only show the points of the areas and not the polygons showing the areas. If you made your KML files only show points, then you’ll probably have a smaller KML file and thus have an xml file that can be read by GoogleEarth and Googlemaps.

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April 17, 2007

Utah: using free services to provide public service

Filed under: Government — kirk @ 8:54 pm

I’ve spent the past few days reading through the posts of Dave Fletcher’s Government and Technology Weblog.

I’ve had an interest in Utah for quite awhile. It seems they’ve been working for more than a few years on using XML to tie together information on state government. Others have apparently noticed as well. In 2006, the Center for Digital Government ranked them 4th in the top 25 states as technology leaders.

What follows are a few ideas from Utah that provide you with some ideas on how state or city government can use social media or mashups.

[Note: In some cases I link directly to the Utah feature instead of Dave’s blog because I had a little difficulty getting the direct link to the blog entry discussing the feature.]

A good example of using the simple Googlemaps API with state information is Utah’s hot fishing spots.

One interesting post shows how he is working with Tagzania’s site to create a GoogleMap showing state parks in Utah. (I’ll be coming back to Tagzania in a later post dealing with the GeoRSS mapping projects I’m working on).

Dave makes great use of his blog to pull Utah e-government resources together. His blogroll lists others related to e-government in general and in Utah specifically. He even uses Flickr to give you a great slideshow of Utah images.

Spend some time scrolling through Dave’s blog. You’ll be surprised just how many things you can provide to the public by using free services such as Flickr, GoogleMaps, etc.

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April 16, 2007

Social Media Summit (followup)

Filed under: blogging — kirk @ 8:42 pm

ALI just posted the presentations from the Social Media Summit held in Chicago last week (April 10 - 12). Also the chair of the Summit, Michael Rudnick, has a brief post about the Summit.

I also came across Kevin O’keefe’s do’s and don’ts on company blogging, which provides a nice checklist to those getting ready to create a policy.

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April 14, 2007

Geotagging!!

Filed under: Geotagging — kirk @ 8:30 pm

This post uses a great little plug-in called Geotagging, built by Michaƫl Uyttersprot. The Wordpress plug-in adds georeferences to RSS feeds, thus allowing a tool to place them on a map.

For the sake of experiment, I’m going to tag this post from where I’m writing (Columbia Missouri). I’ll even go back and tag the Social Media Summit posts at the hotel in Chicago where the Summit was held.

With this georeference added, it’s now easy to have googlemaps read the RSS feed from this blog and put a pointer on the map for each blog post. Here’s a googlemap showing all feeds from this blog.

This is part of the experimentation I’m doing for getting georeferenced information shared between communities, state and federal agencies on recreational opportunities in Missouri…

More to come as the experiment continues.

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Blogging policies

Filed under: blogging — kirk @ 9:15 am

I wanted to write a quick note for fellow Social Media Summit folks providing a list of blogging policies I’ve found thus far. If you have some to add (especially related to gov. or edu.) let me know.

Most of these links go to blog entries that then link to the guidelines. I did this instead of linking directly because the blog entries provide extra information like advice and also background on how the policies got made.

I’m sure I’ll be modifying this post in the future to add more items.

In addition, Corporateblogging.info has a nice overview of (guess what?) corporate blogging policies.

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 was..here’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 12, 2007

Social Media Summit Day 1 (continued)

Filed under: blogging — kirk @ 11:49 am

Ok, so maybe I was too tired to finish the post last night.

First of all, let me say that this conference has been really good. In fact, I have too much material to possibly include in one post.

I usually find conferences to not be technical enough, or not address workflow issues or simply not be relevant. All of the speakers at this conference, however, have been quite good.

The conference is hosted by Advanced Learning Institute

Great ideas I’ve gleaned from day 1:

Create teams to own and post to a blog

For offical blogs, consider having them team owned and on a subject rather than owned by an individual. I got this idea from Jim Goldstein of Informatica Corp.

This approach solves several problems. If a team owns your offical blog or blogs:

  • it’s easier to get regular postings
  • you’re covered if someone is sick, moves on or is promoted

“Social” is the key concept of this Social Media conference.

Although I already ‘get it’ when it comes to Web 2.0 and have read the various points about how Web 2.0 and 1.0 differ, somehow it all didn’t really come to a head for me until this conference. Web 2.0 or the social Web will be as big as Web pages were in the 90s. However, technology and money is not the issue for Web 2.0. Any business can create blogs, wikis or other social media outlets with little or no money or technical support. What it will require, however, is social capital. Your employees and administrators will have to participate in this new media and your organization or agency will have no choice but to participate. There are probably already Web 2.0 sites out there with communities actively discussing your agency or group. The question is whether your organization will participate in that discussion.

There are many more items to list here, but I now see that it will probably be best to split them up over several posts.

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