gov 2.0 expo – Day 1

Navigating the Maze, Carolyn Lawson, CA

In 1920’s the state of California discussed if phones should be established; questions raised: We don’t need it as everything woks fine and people are satisfied with the services. How can we controll what is being said on the phone. Does the telephone only support the rich? – Now we cannot go back to a time before the telephone.

Government in the future will be open; it’s already there. Policies have to be ready for new ICT tools. Twitter is a very useful tool now, but would have been ignored according to set policies. Policies shall help government moving forward.

Governor of CA likes to twitter, but officials couldn’t read it because it was blocked. So they couldn’t read messages of their own boss. In CA driving lessons had to be cut in school, now there is full curriculum available on YouTube. By now it got 9 mio views.

Officials who want to use ICT extensively to communicate with citizens, have to be like activists in their own agencies. There are no rules about the implementations of Web 2.0 in agencies, but it is a process that has to be fulfilled step by step. Find the success areas and point them out.

When you become a public servant, you take an oath; and the rules that apply outside the web also apply when using the web 2.0. Certain private use of ICT has to be defined (tweeting about work, tweeting about issues that are not public of official).

Are we really ready to have open data? People will find dirty and dark spots in the open data sets, and government will not like that. However, these spots will actually help government to enhance processes and services. Open Government makes officials uncomfortable, but government has to address the citizens where they are. It was revolutionary when public data was made available (in buildings on paper), but it was good for democracy and society.

Businesses already use Web 2.0 and they have developed policies (e.g. FedEx).



Creating a Social Media Strategy: The Data Shows Why It’s Important: Dan Zarella,

There are different reproductive strategies. Some are fast disseminating, but don’t last long (retweet) and others take long to spread but lasting (religion).

A seed is person you give an idea to first; this person spreads it afterwards. Something in each message has to catch the attention. Bigger and louder works to a point, e.g. bigger banners are clicked more often. How can we use selective attention in social media? Messages have to be personalised, e.g. putting the name of a person at the beginning of an email.

If you tweet one link in an hour, you get a better click-through rate than if you send more than 1 link per hour. The more tweets the less clicks. Click-through rate is higher at weekends, when less tweets are tweeted. Most articles are published during the week, consequently attention of users is higher at the weekend. Social exchange theory says that the more I value the information I get from a person; this person will value the whole relationship. Users are very efficiently disseminating warnings that spread via the Internet. If there is an information void, use it and give information. If you ask people to retweet, it works, if not used too often.

Communal recreation describes that messages are slightly changed when being repeated (telephone-game). What motivates people to share information: 1. Personal relevance, 2. Humour, 3. Reputation, 4. Cause-based, 5. Utility. Combined relevance: e.g. merging two or more entities that have no relation at all creates interest of those people who like the entities that are blended.

What do people share? What is the readability of things shared? Articles that require an advanced readability are less often shared. Retweets are noun heavy (like newspaper headlines). What content is shared? News are most often shared. Average people share humour, influential people share opinion as number two. Novel things (also with seldom used words) are more often retweeted. A mix of new and old things is very appreciated as people can relate to it (e.g. Romeo&Juliet, film in 90’s). The number one word retweeted is ‘you’. Among the best Facebook-shareable words ‘why’, ‘how’. Positive things are more often shared than negativities. Most important: If you talk about yourself, your tweets are less likely to be retweeted.

Twitter is excellent to mobilise people, when government agencies need the help of citizens.



How online collaborative games improve policy making, Michael Bean, Forio Simulations

Simulations were used by the government in World War II. In the 50’s and 60’s experiments with such games were conducted. Simulations analyse decisions based o assumptions and preferences. Modern simulations are a collaboration between a person and a computer.

The concept of computer games and board games is similar. Especially when human interaction is involved, players are livelier when playing board games.

Games and simulations are converging. Simulations are essential to analyse long-term effects of certain strategies. Simulations about climate change show users how climate will develop under certain circumstances. Users can alter the circumstances, so they realise how things are interrelated.

(Comment: Such tools might be of great interest for e-participation tools as they visualise the outcomes and consequences of decisions.)



Building Online Communities for Citizen Engagement, Judith Freeman, New Organizing Institute, Cammie Croft, US Department of Energy

Goals for online engagement: Amplification (press releases), Transparency (Making things useful), Service (People come to find or get something).

This video shows how citizen engagement basically functions.

Building an online community in government does not work quickly as it has to meet with legal regulations. is an online community and facebook and twitter are means to reach people. does not have many interactive tools, the communication happens via social media.

Some projects work, some don’t – that’s it. Citizen engagement must be fostered, and different strategies might lead to a long lasting engagement. There are different types of users and many needs should be addressed. Some users pass by 3 times a year, while others would like to actively engage in projects.

Principles for Online Engagement

  1. Empowerment: open up for comments; feedback must be taken serious.
  2. Narrative/Story: explain your goal and the way there; tell what the online community should do to reach the goal; have a plan but be flexible.
  3. Authenticity: beware that there are real people involved; speak as yourself/the institution you represent; find experts within your institution when you have to explain complicated matters.
  4. Transparency: make data available; tell people what the data means.
  5. Moments: respond to issues that are crucial for you (e.g. oil spill is relevant for department of energy/environment); give immediate opportunities to help when it is needed (e.g. Haiti earthquake).
  6. Measurable and Strategic Goals: people like to know the goal and what is measurable in the process and outcome.
  7. Try things, Pilot projects, Build capacity: pilots are great to test projects; analyse the pilots.

It is crucial to keep the community going, once the project is over. Offline relevance must be given. If you can make people passionate about a certain project, they will invest a lot of time to reach the goals.


Keynotes Kickoff

Accepting the Mission for Greatness, Bill Eggers
New Book: “If We Can Put a Man on the Moon…” – Why do some big initiatives fail or have success? There are certain patterns for success: good idea, implantable design, stargate (involve decision makers) implementation, results … and revaluation. Open your initiative to criticism from outside the organisation. Gov2.0 can create prototype concept that are afterwards applied on large scale. Gaming is going to be relevant in the design of applications.

Apps for the Army, Jeffrey A. Sorenson
Information sharing was essential development in the 80’s. Cooperation and Coordination was relevant in Gulf War. Now it is about Collaborative Environment – including different NATO countries. Standardised end user environment is relevant for nowadays tools. People at the front know what they need, and now applications are built to their needs.

Sunlight Foundation Contest Winners, Clay Johnson
The focus of Sunlight Labs/Foundation is to make government more open and transparent. Besides the contest “Apps for America”, the foundation launched a new award “Design for America” (redesign government websites) as design becomes crucially important.

Short Keynotes

15-second Case Studies in Open Government Data, Daniel O’Neil
EveryBock is a website that informs citizens about relevant things in their neighbourhood. EveryBlock made some case studies – what was learned: politics can ruin information, details can surprise, people make the data, maintenance is tough.

Crisis Communication 2.0: real-time Civilian Protection, Zubin Wadia
CiviGuard is about emergency communication. Web 3.0 is going to be real-time web. Information will be disseminated in real time. Web2.0 movement was the inspiration for this company.

Vote on the Web: Transparency and Civic Engagement in Brazilian Politics, André Blas
Gov2.0 is not about technology but people. Most voters don’t know what congress members do, and that pushes people away from politics. WebCitizen translates bills and laws into understandable language. It also compares polls of users (citizens) and decisions of politicians, and often disagreement is shown.

Graffiti Tracker: Utilizing Data to Fight Crime, Timothy Kephart
Graffiti contains information that is relevant for police work. Tracking this information helped law enforcement to understand the social relations within gangs. Mapping graffiti shows patterns of the graffiti sprayers. Consequently this tool empowers law enforcements. Using the information is better then deleting (paint over) the information (as it comes back anyway).

Opening the Courts: Using Technology to Empower the Unrepresented, Kate Bladow
Not everybody has a lawyer, as lawyers are not provided in civil court issues. All courts use forms. Online court interviews help improving the forms and gives feedback to users.

You’ve Been Scienced: Communicating Military Science and Technology with Social Media, John Ohab
Scientists have a bad image and often have problems to communicate what they actually do. The core principles of science should be applied in all social media projects. Create URLs, Michelle Chronsiter
In order to create proper short links (as used in twitter) the website can be used by all officials in order to indicate official links. Moreover, the links and clicks can be analysed. These short URLs are permanent, trustworthy, and save money. Governmental APIs are the next project.

Technology is a Prism Held Up to the Imagination: A Vision of Reality for Gov 2.0 Looking Forward, Rita King
Web 2.0 is changing the interconnectedness of society. King’s project tries to link reality with wonderful imagination – creating a network and a city of the future.

Instituting a Culture of AWESOME in Government: The Case of the IED Task Force Tech Team, Christopher Dufour
Gov 1.0 was not awesome as it was lame. Gov 2.0 enhances innovation, which is awesome. Characteristics of awesome culture: small, super-powered team, result driven. Awesome is inherently social. Don’t manage but lead, don’t get too big.

If You Can’t Control Data, Consider the Message, Elizabeth Losh
Don’ts for Gov 2.0: Don’t promise what you cannot do, Don’t Pander, Don’t get too far ahead of yourself, Don’t believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, Don’t pretend you are listening, Don’t assume that no one will mess with you, Don’t assume that everyone is messing with you, Don’t take things out of the public domain, Don’t copyright your material, Don’t live for the moment. Government is not a brand.

First Responder Communities of Practice, Jose Vazquez
The Department for Homeland Security tries to use social media for first responders. Several Web 2.0 tools are used for organising the first responders, wikis, blogs, shared calendar. This helps finding best practice models.


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