Sunday, November 29, 2009

We've Moved to


I have decided to move from Blogger to Wordpress. Please visit the new location at

Thank you - and please be sure to update the links on your website to reflect this change!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Your Friendly Steward of GovLoop Awesomeness

Originally posted on GovLoop.

Today is a big day in my life and I'm really excited to share it with you - the GovLoop Community. Mr. GovLoop himself (aka Steve Ressler) has asked me to join his team as the GovLoop Community Manager!

So what does that mean? It means I've resigned from the Graduate School and will dedicate myself full-time to making GovLoop THE place where people in and around government can connect and achieve new levels of awesomeness (that's in my contract, by the way - to use this word at least once in every conversation) beginning today. Think of me as your friendly steward to GovLoop awesomeness - hear at your beck and call working with you to make government better. READ THE FULL POST HERE -->

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Than a #Gov20 Moment

On Memorial Day 2008, Steve Ressler, a 28 year-old US Department of Homeland Security employee, launched GovLoop as the "Facebook for government." His goal was simple: create a space for the millions of government employees to connect and collaborate. I joined as soon as I learned about it and was struck by the energy and eagerness of people in and around government to share ideas and information regarding their common challenges and success stories. Right around Memorial Day of this year, GovLoop crossed the 10,000 member mark and the site has nearly doubled again in just four months to more than 18,000 members.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Twitterfall in Congress?

I'm reading an advance copy of a great new book called "If We Can Put a Man on the Moon" by William D. Eggers and John O'Leary. The release date is set for November 19. Based on the first 100 pages, I'd compare it to the classic business books "Good to Great" or "Built to Last" - it's like "Good to Great" for government.

The main premise behind the book is found in this paragraph:
"There is indeed ample historical evidence that democratic governments can achieve great things. There is also ample evidence that democratic governments can fail in their attempts. The requirements for achieving great things are two simple but far from easy steps - wisely choosing which policies to pursue and then executing those policies. The difference between success and failure is execution."


Saturday, September 5, 2009

"What Does Gov 2.0 Mean to Me?"' and Other Cool Video Projects

In advance of next week's Gov 2.0 Expo and Summit, Tim O'Reilly asked citizens to respond to a question: "What Does Gov 2.0 Mean to You?" At least a couple handful of folks have responded, with many of the videos being posted over at GovFresh.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Get a $2,000 Raise! Telework.

Results from Virginia's Telework Day were released this week. Some of the statistics that stood out:

- Teleworking one day per week equates to a $2,000 raise for each employee
- 69% of participants indicated that they accomplished more while teleworking
- If all interested employees engaged in telework, it would remove nearly 400,000 tons of pollutants from the environment
- 74% of participants indicated that their employers are more open to telework
- Biggest reported benefits of teleworking: #1 work/life balance, #2 productivity
- Most important factor in successful teleworking: leadership is on board


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

6 Competencies of a Gov 2.0 Leader

I was invited to participate in the Potomac Forum's "Best Practices Symposium" today in Washington, DC. Fortunately, the organizer Ken Fischer allowed me to appear by video since I was scheduled to moderate a panel this evening with two of my local congressmen here in Durham, North Carolina. You can watch the full presentation with accompanying slides or you can absorb the slides without the commentary.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Here It Is! Open Gov and Innovations "TweetBook"

4,423 tweets (150+ pages of data) from 629 contributors at 35 conference sessions, 8 volunteers and 5 days...proposed and produced on GovLoop in partnership with the 1105 Group. Those are the core elements of the story behind the ebook below. Rather than say much more about it (you can learn about the process here and here), I invite you to read through this compilation of 140-character tweets that capture the essence of the Open Government and Innovations Conference. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

UK's Twitter Guide for Government

Per this post from Neil Williams, head of corporate digital channels at the UK central government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), below is a "Template Twitter Strategy for Government Departments." It's a helpful document as it includes a very brief overview of Twitter, offers some objectives and associated metrics, explores the risks of use and provides an outline for identity management. Have you been developing something similar in your organization? If so, please share. If not, I hope you find it it be a helpful tool.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

AMVER: AMazing Life-SaVERs

If you're on Twitter, you may have seen some of the great tweets from @Amver like:

-> Nigerian rebels kidnap 6 crewmembers from chemical carrier Sichem Peace
-> Boating tips for watching fireworks from boats
-> U.S. House passes piracy amendment; military guards to man certain ships/cargoes
-> Iranian naval ship stops pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden
-> French rescue authorities request @amver assistance for missing plane near Comoros Islands

Intrigued by the intensity of these tweets, I contacted Benjamin Strong to learn more about Amver. I encourage you to read all of his responses. If you think his tweets are intriguing, you'll really appreciate his thoughts about the Coast Guard and social media!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

10 Ways Social Media Will Streamline Federal Acquisition

A couple months ago, I noticed a conversation on GovLoop regarding acquisition. Having spent the past ten years as a proposal writer that has responded to hundreds of Requests for Proposals on behalf of non-profit and educational institutions, I contributed six quick ideas to the discussion. Well, no good deed goes unpunished and those comments led to an invitation to serve on a panel titled, “Rockstars of Gov 2.0 Innovate Federal Acquisition,” that was held at the General Services Administration on July 1.

Mary Davie (Assistant Commissioner, Office of Assisted Acquisition Services, General Services Administration) and Esther Burgess (Senior Vice President and COO, Vistronix) served as moderators and fellow panelists included Noel Dickover (Department of Defense), Kim Patrick Kobza (Co-Founder and CEO, Neighborhood America), Jack Kelly (Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget), and Raj Sharma (President and Co-chair, Board of Directors at FAIR Institute, President and CEO, Censeo Consulting Group).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Next Generation Government: Mobile, Measurable, Malleable

This morning, I had the opportunity to serve on a panel for the 2009 Symantec Government Symposium in Washington, DC, under the title Next Generation Government. Special “shout out” to moderator Tom Temin of Federal News Radio and fellow panelists Chris Kemp (Chief Information Officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration), John Schueler (New Media Director, Department of Energy) and David Thompson (Chief Information Officer, Symantec).

To prepare for my participation, I first turned to my Twitter crowd and asked, “How do you define ‘Next Generation Government’”? Here are some of the responses I received:

@kpkfusion (Kim Patrick Kobza, CEO, Neighborhood America): Inclusive, Responsive, Efficient
@topperge (Matt Topper, Technical Manager, Oracle Nat’l Security Group): Open, Accountable, Innovative
@bobwatkins (Bob Watkins, Technical Training and Freelance Writer): Transparent, Neutral POV (think Wikipedia), Green

With this foundational feedback from my followers, I narrowed the list down to words that meet two critical criteria: triplication and alliteration. Thus, my three words to describe “Next Generation Government” are:

• Mobile
• Measurable
• Malleable

Each word is described in greater detail below:

A. Mobile Government

First, mobile connotes the idea that work is no longer a place, but a set of tasks that can be performed anywhere – whether that’s in a government-owned building in a major metropolitan center or a privately-owned family farm in the middle of Minnesota. In the private sector, this type of flexible work environment is already commonplace. Not so in the public sector where fewer than 10% of eligible employees are teleworking. I believe that three primary drivers will lead to a more mobile government:

1) Collaborative technologies – also known as Web 2.0 or social media – will enable people to exchange information in ways that mitigate time and distance. Public sector personnel will wake up one morning, and about 75 minutes into their 5-mile commute, will recognize that there is a much better way to work. They’ll turn around, turn on their laptop and turn in a respectable day’s work…in less than 8 hours!

2) Boomers will retire, leaving Generation X and Millennials to take the reins. And what does the next generation want but a better work-life balance? Unlike our parents, we don’t live to work. We work to live. We’re projectized people that desperately want to live the critical path – the quickest route from start to finish…so we can give more attention to our personal pursuits.

3) Boomers will retire, becoming bored and realizing that they want to keep contributing. For all that’s been said about it, the impending “retirement tsunami” may or may not happen by 2015. With their workaholic approach and life savings shaved in half, Boomers are most likely not leaving anytime soon. Think about it: the youngest among them are still in their mid-40s and many of them are on Facebook, GovLoop, and Twitter. And surveys by relatively respectable institutions like AARP, Harvard, Merrill Lynch and MetLife indicate that two out of three Boomers expect to NEVER retire. Rather, they plan to cycle between periods of working, volunteering and vacationing.

To summarize: we all want the same thing! But it’s up to you, brilliant and bold Boomers, to put this mobile culture in place now before you head off to work from your waterfront villa in the south of Florida or France.

B. Measurable Government

But now you wonder: How will we know if anyone is really getting any work done in this brave, new, mobile environment? Well, I have a ready answer for you! We make sure that every aspect of our work is measurable. What better builds trust between manager and employee than a clear set of tasks with target dates and appropriate metrics? If I know what needs to get done and by when, why does the how and where matter? By the way, did I already mention that Generation X and Millennials like a project-based environment. Tell us precisely what we need to do, then let us run. Most likely, we’ll form appropriate teams and use technology to accomplish the mission efficiently and effectively…even if the bulk of the work doesn’t get done between 9a and 5p Eastern Standard Time. Oh, and by the way, if we’re already measuring our activities for the sake of creating efficiencies, why not make that data available to the taxpayers who afford our salary? Yes, a measurable government is also better prepared to be an accountable government, especially if the metrics make us look good. To summarize: Project. Parameters. Product. It’s all about trust…trust in our employees and making good on the public trust that keeps us honest and hard-working.

C. Malleable Government

Finally, when I heard words like inclusive, responsive, open, efficient, transparent, and innovative, I needed another “m” word…and malleable came to mind. tells us this word means “capable of being shaped or formed; able to adjust to changing circumstances; adaptable.” As collaborative technologies make our democracy even more participatory, enabling citizens to become more actively engaged in decision-making processes through projects like the Open Government Initiative or the Recovery Dialogue on IT Solutions, let’s hope malleable means that government will implement on the ideas that it receives. Let’s also hope that our government will break down the brick walls of bureaucracy within and between agencies, and replace them with lighter, thinner, semi-metallic layers that enable people to hear one another talking…at least until we can eliminate the silos completely. Then, eventually we’ll be able to rapidly transform or facilitate the formation of inter-agency, cross-industry and multi-governmental teams that adroitly address our most pressing challenges.

So that’s it: mobile, measurable and malleable. That’s what I think we all want, regardless of our generational vantage point. Even if we don’t agree about many things as an intergenerational mix, let’s think of the next generation. Better yet, maybe we can take a page from the Chinese playbook and think many generations into the future…and respond with a sense of urgency today.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Focused Engagement: From 4 to 400 LinkedIn Group Members in 4 Months

As someone who is studying the intersection of social media and generational diversity in the workforce (with an emphasis on the public and social sectors), I am intrigued by a couple key questions right now: What drives people to become engaged in social media? What are the decisive moments or key motivations that move a person to recognize social media as a viable tool for advancing their personal or professional pursuits? I would like to take the lessons learned and assist organizations to overcome the barriers to adoption so that they might accomplish their mission more efficiently and effectively through collaboration tools.

Two weeks ago, I learned that Jeffrey Vargas – the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Agency - launched a group on LinkedIn that has grown to over 400 members in just a few short months. We had dinner back in January and I shared with him my philosophy of social media engagement at that time. I can’t take credit for the growth of Jeffrey’s LinkedIn group because he is a dynamic community builder in his own right. Yet much of the membership increase happened in the weeks immediately following our conversation and I wanted to learn more.

I posed a few questions to Jeffrey so that we might benefit from the return on engagement that he’s gained from his first focused experiment with social media.

Q1: What’s the history of the CLO Group on LinkedIn and what was your baseline knowledge of social media?

I started the Chief Learning Officers Network in late November 2008. I had no real knowledge of Web 2.0 capacity. I had been a member of LinkedIn for a few months, joining because friends bugged me to be a part of it. After a while as a member, I began to join some groups basically to see what would happen. I didn't see a group for CLOs so I started the network thinking and hoping to get 20-30 folks over a period of a year or so. I started the group because nothing was in existence in LinkedIn and thought our community needed something – a place, a forum, something to communicate around ideas. I figured I would start it before the Christmas season and see what happens over the holidays. If the group wasn't moving forward, I would just delete it come spring.

Q2: What was it that motivated you to try something new with social media?

Basically, LinkedIn was a place for me to find old college buddies. Before our talk I had my group up, but I didn't really actively seek new members or really communicate much with those who joined. I just figured things would "happen" and individuals would just start to collaborate. The conversation we had over dinner convinced me that I needed to spend more time in the network, I had to "work my network." Literally, I had to start communicating with folks who took the time to sign up. Before our chat I thought success was just starting the group and anything the group did would be gravy (let's call it success plus). I realized that was a "passive" model and I had to change my thinking, and basically think of the site more as a "place of engagement" where I would reach out to members, ask them questions, and seek their opinion. Our conversation helped me see that success might be achieved through focused engagement.

Q3. Can you describe what has happened since launch?

The November launch was uneventful; folks started to come in groups of 5 or 6. Post-holidays and after February something happened - some days I would get 20-30 requests to join! I'm not sure why things happened; I did reach out to some members/begin talking with them on email and exchanging ideas. The discussion groups seemed to pick up as well. Sometimes I would get multiple requests to join from the same organization which seemed like an indicator that folks were talking.

Today, humbly I tell you that the interest in the group has totally exploded, and gone international - requests to join come regularly from learning professionals from around the world. As of today we have over 400 learning professionals in the Chief Learning Officers Network, I don't have a breakdown of actual CLO's - the group is a composite of individuals with learning and development responsibilities and folks who are actual CLO's, seasoned with some vendors.

Q4. To what do you attribute the rapid growth? How did you disseminate information about it?

Growth is due to word of mouth – has to be since I don't advertise it anywhere and I really don't talk about it to other leaders. Why? Because the metric of success being bigger numbers doesn't work for me, so there was no need to "talk people into joining." That's why the interest in the group is so surprising. 0I never expected this much interest so actually I never develop a marketing strategy either.

It's interesting that not only do I now get the usual request to join, I also get Inmail/Email for individuals who are providing me a business case/justification for why they should join and how they expect to contribute to the group, almost like a self-imposed application process. I have received emails from folks who have said that "so and so recommended that I join and here is how I want to contribute..." I haven't' let everyone join and have gotten some not so nice emails from folks who really didn't have a connection with the group but the integrity of the group matters to me so I don't mind taking a few hits.

Q5. What's the biggest outcome or ROI/ROE for you to date?

The group has become known as a place for leaders in learning to share ideas/thoughts/connect – something that was just not possible a few years ago but made available through advances in technology. We know that CLO's who would have never met have connected on issues of commonality; some folks have begun working together/collaborating. There is interest in doing a CLO conference in web 2.0 (leaning toward Second Life) where we will have a day of discussion on common issues. I'm forming a team of five CLO's/learning professionals to plan it. On a personal level, I've been invited to a CLO's only retreat (for 150 CLO's of major private sector organization) and have been asked to be a presenter (not something I sought but humbly happy to support) - without the network the folks in charge of the retreat would have never found me.

Q6. What ideas do you have for the future with LinkedIn? Beyond?

I want us to be a "real-time think tank" doing things like developing and deploying surveys to the group on learning and development topics, taking the information that we uncover and share it with the greater learning community. Also, I hope that the group can help government CLO's look for, and then execute, ways to collaborate and share costs in the design, development and execution of strategic learning initiatives. I want to ensure a safe forum for CLO's to noodle ideas/be creative and inventive and test (success is great and failure is ok, too). Perhaps we can host an annual Web 2.0 conference and develop a CLO academic curriculum because right now there isn't identified (that I've seen) basic curriculum for a CLO (either at the undergrad/grad level).

Q7: Any final thoughts or insights for readers?

Whatever we do I want it to be sustainable and meaningful - the bigger means better metric is a data point, but not my goal. If we stay at 400 members and we don't add a soul, I would be okay. For me it's much more important that we are doing something with folks who took the time to join and ensure that they will make use of the group and feel a part of the group than just getting bigger. Ultimately, the group has to be relevant and sustainable beyond even my own involvement; this group is not about ego, it's about change. What I won't let the group become (if I can help it) is to be very vendor-focused – a place for anyone who has a product for CLOs to showcase their capacity. It's great to have some vendors who really want to be part of the community and others to be part of the network but, at the end of the day, the group is developed for CLOs and I want to stick to that mission.

If we were to glean five lessons from Jeffrey’s LinkedIn success, they would include:

1. Focused, active engagement leads to the greatest returns.

2. As with any endeavor, the more you give, the more you receive.

3. Although the hallmarks of social media are openness, transparency and participation, it is okay to limit access to your network if that ties back to your ultimate goal.

4. Establish a clear set of outcomes and a vision for the future.

5. Bigger is not always better. A relevant, active group of people that brings value to one another may be a more meaningful measure of success.

Thank you, Jeffrey, for sharing your insight!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blogs as Bridges: How Web 2.0 Connects People Across the Ages (and Agencies!)

Below are the slides from a presentation that I delivered yesterday for the Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, NC. I had a lot of fun and folks in the audience - including members of EPA's Web Governance Council and @jesuimoi (Cheryl Thompson, Web Manager for the Office of Communications and Public Liaison at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) - made it highly interactive and relevant. Special thanks to @levyj413 (Jeffrey Levy, EPA Web Manager, Federal Web Managers Council and Social Media Subcouncil Co-Chair) for insight to tailor it to his agency colleagues.

Friday, May 22, 2009 An Experiment in SEO and Social Media

You've seen a lot of posts from me regarding the social media activities of other agencies. Never have I highlighted an endeavor from my own organization. Well, this post changes everything! Here's the backdrop:

Throughout its history, the Graduate School has always adapted in creative ways to the changing needs of government. A few weeks ago, several colleagues and I gathered to discuss the ways in which the Graduate School could support agencies as they grapple with the need to respond efficiently and effectively to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Several people planned to make direct contact with agencies to learn about their training needs. We also intended to use traditional media (brochures, magazine ads) along with a dedicated space on our website, well-placed banner ads and an email campaign to make them aware of our relevant course offerings.

Then I said, "Why don't we see if is available? If so, let's buy it and build a website that will strive to be the top hit in a search on those words." My remark caught the attention of a senior executive and she moved right away to champion the cause. Within 24 hours, we purchased the .com, .org and .net domains. A day later, we secured the participation of another member of our team who had created a similar website (our Pacific Islands Training Initiative referenced in this GovLoop Member of the Week profile for Anita Arile) to assist with the build. By the end of the following week, our President and CEO Dr. Jerry Ice expressed his openness to producing a video for the project. Four weeks later, I am proud to report that is live! It represents what I would deem our first full foray into the use of organic search engine optimization and social media tools.

There are 10 lessons learned from this project that I would like to share with you:

1) We started with a clear business need that tied to our mission. Our goal was established from the outset: help government agencies at all levels (Federal, state and local) to find the training that will enable them to respond successfully to ARRA. This goal tied directly to our mission, which is "to develop people and to make government more efficient and effective."

2) We had a champion and organizational support from the highest level. When one of the Graduate School's senior executives decided that this project should happen, it moved forward swiftly. She secured the project charter, removed road blocks, pushed the process and elicited executive buy-in. Even our President and CEO became involved, indicating that this kind of project was a priority for our organization.

3) We had 3-4 committed team members. I had a vision for creating the website, but I knew that I did not have the technical background to make it a reality. That's when we called upon an employee at our Hawaii campus to help. Knowing that he had a busy schedule which included trips throughout the Pacific where he would have limited bandwidth, we defined the project parameters (both time and scope) and divided the tasks based on our strengths.

4) We drew inspiration from a best practice website. Just before we launched the project, I had been admiring Neighborhood America's website. In particular, I liked their ability to provide a lot of information in a small space with an accordion-style menu on their home page. We didn't copy it completely, but you can see its influence on our design. Imitation is the highest form of flattery after all!

5) We kept it simple. When you arrive on the site, you are greeted by the smiling face of our President and CEO along with a video message. The rest of the site provides quick access to the real information that people were seeking when they arrived. No extra pages. No bells (but maybe a whistle or two).

6) We tied it closely to our organizational brand. You'll see that the main banner at matches the header on our primary website. Throughout the process, we worked with our marketing and communications department to ensure that we preserved our overall branding with font, colors, and other aspects drawn from our main Web location. We also used the same language and content that was created for our brochures and other print media. It saved time and ensured that we maintained harmony.

7) We drove traffic to our main site. Rather than creating a stand alone Internet presence, we knew that our primary objective was to encourage visitors to view our main website. Every single link (with the exception of the social media sites) invites guests back to our main location. And every page opens in a new window for easy navigation back to in case another curriculum area catches a visitor's attention.

8) It's not perfect. One thing that made me fret a bit was the fact that our social media sites (Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo) did not have much content. We could have waited to go live until all of the potential content was in place, but we recognized that this project represents just the beginning of our efforts to have a more comprehensive Web presence. In fact, we have sparked energy around the School and are getting great photos and video content that we are posting soon. (So stay tuned!)

9) We used meta-tagging and social media to improve SEO. Admittedly, this is not my strong suit, but our Website design guru used meta tags to increase the likelihood that the site will be found by search engines. Our goal is to be the top hit for a search on (you guessed it!) "recovery act training." It would be great if we could be the top hit for variations, but we optimized it with a relatively singular focus. Of course, we are also using our social media tools to improve SEO by posting links at sites with heavier traffic and excellent search rankings.

10) We plan to measure the project. Finally, we installed Google Analytics on the site so that we can track visits and determine if we achieved our objectives. We plan to check every two weeks for the first three months, then monthly thereafter. Perhaps I will have a success report in a couple months to share with you here!

Have your projects followed a similar pattern? What other ideas and lessons learned would you share for your Web-based endeavors?

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 Ways Government is Using Social Media to Recruit the Next Generation

Originally published at FedManager's E-Report on behalf of Young Government Leaders.

In an essay entitled Federal Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Fixing Government College Recruitment released in mid-April, Stephen Anders (a Masters of Public Policy Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School) recommended that Federal agencies should “increase their presence on social networking sites” like Facebook and LinkedIn to improve their recruitment strategies. Anders indicates that the private sector does a better job of recruiting than government in getting new hires. In light of Anders’ account of government recruiting, you might be surprised to learn that several agencies are using social media effectively to recruit the next generation of public sector personnel. Below are five ways that government is leveraging social media to attract potential applicants:

1. U.S. Coast Guard Channel on YouTube: From the Red River floods that ravaged North Dakota to the “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency landing, the U.S. Coast Guard plays a critical role in responding to the needs of fellow Americans in moments of crisis. You might see a sound bite of their heroic efforts on TV, but you can also catch the Coast Guard in action any time on YouTube. Travel with Commandant Allen, who has mandated social media as a vital part of the Coast Guard mission, or catch fearless Coasties conducting safety checks by airboat, rescuing stranded citizens from swelling rivers, and saving lives in stormy seas. After watching a few of these men and women serve our fellow Americans, I felt like joining the Coast Guard. Precisely my point: how many young people will view these videos and explore a career with the Coast Guard? By the way, the Coast Guard has at least two other sites in addition to the official channel: US Coast Guard News and Coast Guard On Demand. How can your agency capture employees on camera as they perform their vital public functions? Buy a Flip cam for under $200 and have fun. Bust the reputation of bureaucrats being stodgy and boring and allow potential employees to see you enjoying your job!

2. State Department DipNote Blog: While all State Department employees aren’t engaged in espionage or excursions to exotic locales, you can get a flavor for the foreign service as a regular reader of the State Department’s DipNote blog. The last several posts feature photos from the Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and an account of U.S. Ambassador Stephen Nolan launching a solar energy project at Kaziikini Campsite in Botswana. If I were a young women looking for opportunities to have a global impact or a student seeking “green” employment, these posts would be appealing. So you might be wondering people really read it? Just this week, DipNote celebrated a major milestone as it surpassed 5,000,000 page views. You don’t need a specific recruiting aim to begin blogging. How can you communicate your mission in a compelling manner? What information about your agency might inspire a young person to pursue employment with you? In case you’re interested, I’ve written two other blog posts about State’s extensive use of social media – all of which are points of contact for meeting the next wave of diplomats (please see here and here).

3. UK Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) on Facebook: Since we traveled beyond our borders in the last example, let’s take a look at how the United Kingdom has found Facebook to be a helpful recruitment tool for teachers. Meet Elizabeth Doyle and Kaol Rasarathnam who, in partnership with the UK’s Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), created two complementary Facebook pages where 2,000 fans are finding information about careers in teaching. Each site features 10 teachers and teaching career advisors who are available to answer questions that range from “What are the main software packages used by students in secondary schools?” to “I have an interview at Cambridge University for secondary biology teaching – any last-minute interview tips?” Based on my brief review of the sites, it appears as if each question is answered within 24 hours with an average of 2-3 questions per day. Note that the site uses a team-based approach to respond to inquiries – a best practice model for government websites that require regular citizen interaction. How can your agency use Facebook not just as a place to post static information, but as a platform for dynamic interaction?

4. GovLoop Social Virtual Network: When more than 10,000 government employees and private sector colleagues get together in one space, someone’s bound to find a job. GovLoop, a social networking site built on the Ning platform, has been dubbed the “Facebook for Feds.” Government employees at all levels – Federal, state and local – gather in this global, Web-based community that has successfully brought prospective employees and employers together through Web 2.0-style recruitment. Over 100 jobs have been posted on GovLoop directly from managers and colleagues hoping to expedite their current hiring process. For example, a DHS component was looking to quickly hire 12 positions. By posting the openings on GovLoop (with a link to the official recruitment site), the agency received dozens of applicants directly from GovLoop members with great experience in the Federal sector. In another example, a government contractor was looking to expand its social media practice to aid government. By posting on GovLoop, the contractor was able to target the exact people with “Gov 2.0” skill sets. Qualified GovLoopers were eager to land a position that matched their interest, too! Are you using GovLoop as a place to search for new hires?

5. State of Missouri and Second Life: Apparently you can find some cool cats by using Second Life as a virtual recruitment venue. In September 2008, the State of Missouri hired its first employee based on recruiting activities in Second Life. The applicant “came to our job fair as a tiny cat with a red bow tie on,” said Missouri CIO Dan Ross in a Government Computer News story. The well-dressed feline was impressive enough that they conducted a follow-up, in-person conversation. The rest of the recruitment process was staged in Second Life. Check out the video below to learn more:

CIO Ross encourages other agencies to explore this low-cost recruitment tool. Missouri spent less than $100 on this first foray into Second Life and doubled the budget to $200 in this fiscal year due to their initial success.

Okay, so now that you’re convinced to blend social media with your current recruitment activities, how do you get started? Here are five tips:

• Establish a presence in the online spaces where your potential recruits spend their time

• Empower key employees to be online brand ambassadors for your agency in these spaces

• Engage employees who are adept at using these tools in devising your recruitment strategy – even if they aren’t in human resources

• Educate staff on the “what?” and “how?” of social media so that they feel comfortable in their first steps in online forums

• Evaluate your return on engagement regularly to highlight successes and recalibrate tactics based on lessons learned

It’s no longer enough to post jobs on an agency website or central recruiting sites like Your potential employees are talking to one another in social networks all over the Web. Those governmental organizations that recognize this new reality and incorporate social media into their overall recruitment strategy will see the most significant “brain gain.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Can't We All Just Get Along? Four Generations Working Side by Side in Harmony

Two years ago, I delivered a presentation at the Training Officer's Consortium (TOC) Institute that eventually became the title of this blog: Generation Shift. Afterward, a highly respected trainer (Jean Palmer) who had taught the same subject for years approached me and provided some sincere compliments. In response, I asked her if she would be my mentor.

Fast forward to January 2009 and I invited Jean to co-present on the subject with the goal of representing two different generations in order to bring greater value to the audience. I shared my vision for reviewing four common conflicts using several unique teaching modalities. She agreed and we shaped a workshop that included the following conflicts and delivery modes:

1. Finding Information - presented via role play by Jean and I, reprising our first planning session which found Jean focusing on books and papers and me looking for content on the Internet via my laptop.

2. Getting Together: Then we asked the audience to assemble in teams of four to engage in a role play. Each quad received four different descriptions of an employee's response to meetings based on common generational differences.

3. Communicating Effectively: We played a clip from "The Office" that highlights several gaffes caused by generational dynamics at work. Check out the video and draw your own conclusions about potential pitfalls.

4. Deciding Where and When to Work: I brought my boss into the mix by connecting with him via Web-based platform called GS Connect. He appeared by video on the screen as we staged a "typical" conversation in which I asked for permission to work from the beach while on vacation.

All in all, the audience loved it and left wanting more time to discuss the scenarios. Jean and I had a ton of fun in the process of designing and delivering the training.

Here are the slides in case you are interested:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A New Convert to the Goverati: @NenaMoss

Last week, I participated in the Gov 2.0 Boot Camp in Knoxville, TN, delivering a presentation on "Social Virtual Networks and Government." A couple days after the event, I received a social media presenter's greatest reward: an unexpected tweet from a Twitter newbie.

Nena Moss had officially joined the ranks of the Goverati. Moreover, she had joined GovLoop and...well, let me allow her to tell you about her move to a new level of social media engagement:

1. What is your position and the activities that you perform for your job?

I wear two hats: Web Developer at the US Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) and Program Manager for NCI Information Systems, Inc. My web focus is on developing standard and accessible web pages that contribute to OSTI’s mission of broadly sharing scientific research with DOE researchers and the public.

2. What had been your experience with social media - personally or professionally - prior to the Gov 2.0 Boot Camp?

I’m a member of OSTI’s Web 2.0 Innovation team, charged with vetting Web 2.0 capabilities such as wikis, widgets, social media design, RSS monitoring, and mobile computing. These capabilities support OSTI’s vision for accelerating science by speeding access to science information. My experience includes widget and RSS development and Facebook and blogging participation.

3. What were your concerns or fears about using some of the social media tools?

I’m concerned with personal privacy and with accessibility of social media tools for persons with disabilities. I very much enjoyed Linda Cureton’s (CIO, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) statements at Web 2.0 Government Boot Camp about common sense relative to privacy: if you are going to use social media, be careful about what you share. As to accessibility issues, I have found that many applications can be accessible for users of screen readers. On Twitter, I’m following the experts at who provide training and resources to promote web accessibility.

4. What did you hear during the workshop sessions that motivated you to expand your engagement with social media and get started at GovLoop and Twitter (and other places, if applicable)?

I saw the potential of Web 2.0 applications in new ways. In fact, I had not considered using Twitter in my professional life, until I saw your overview – Social Virtual Networking. I’m definitely a member of Generation C: “Someone of any age who is actively using social media and engaging others on the Internet with a ‘2.0’ mindset: creative, collaborative and community oriented.” Boot Camp provided great examples of the collaborative possibilities of Twitter, the communities of Facebook, and the shared information found in virtual networks, such as Virtual Alabama. We were also introduced to tools such as Sketchup and TweetDeck.

5. You mentioned that you were already seeing the benefits - can you tell me more about that statement.

Through Twitter, I quickly connected with experts and found resources. One of our younger staff members joined Twitter the day after Boot Camp and invited me to join. I searched Twitter for my favorite experts in the fields of web accessibility, usability, and standards. As soon as I found Jared Smith and Jon Whiting from WebAIM, I came across new information for my craft – a most interesting survey of screen reader users.

What better way to find new information than to follow the thoughts of experts in the field? This is just one example of the connection and collaboration possible through social networks.

6. How/Do you plan to use these tools for your individual, professional activity?

A search of Twitter tags for #earthday produced “trusted content” for a feature on ScienceLab, OSTI’s site for students and educators. That gave a practical meaning to “trusted search”, a term used at Boot Camp. This efficient use of Twitter will become part of my development process.

I will continue to ‘follow’ experts in Twitter to glean information on the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which I plan to summarize and share with OSTI product managers.

7. How do you envision using these tools to improve organizational processes or activities?

OSTI has an interest in social media policy across the federal government. GovLoop will become one of our resources for policy discussions and information from the government community.

OSTI is already using an internal blog to share social media news and vet new applications. Boot Camp prompted me to consider writing an internal blog for NCI staff, providing direct access to forms and policy, in addition to providing opportunity for commenting.

8. Anything else that you'd like to share that may help others to begin using social media?

Government 2.0 Boot Camp discussions included information about ideas “going viral.” Our experiences with search widgets, an OSTI Facebook page, and most recently with Twitter, illustrate viral development on a small scale. The Internet is becoming a more connected and interactive place. Social networking applications will enhance government efficiency and productivity.

THANK YOU, Nena, for sharing your thoughts with us! And welcome to the Goverati!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twitter and Iraq: A Counterinsurgency to Paul Carr's Cynicism

In an article entitled "How Twitter is going to save Iraq. I mean Ir@. Not.", Paul Carr of the Guardian shares his cynical view regarding social media's ability to improve the situation in Iraq. His essay was sparked by the fact that several tech execs from Google, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, MeetUp and more are in Iraq right now as part of a delegation to explore potential new media solutions. Carr lays out a satirical sequence of events that could emerge in an "iRaq 2.0." Below are a few examples (that, I must admit, had me laughing at times):

December 2009: Iraq holds its first truly democratic online elections with voters invited to Digg up or down a list of 10 candidates representing politicians from across the country's political spectrum.

March 2010: Iraq hosts its first Tweetup, in a bar just outside the Green Zone. The mood is soured when the attendees are twurdered by a twuicide bomber.

May 2010: A new breed of web 2.0 kidnappers begins to emerge, threatening to disrupt the traditional kidnapping industry. Rather than following a ransom model, the new kidnappers release hostages for free, asking only for their name and email address in return. Despite having no revenue strategy whatsoever, market leader Kidnappr quickly signs up over 4 million hostages after ├╝ber-bloggers Robert Scoble and iJustine appear in promotional videos, pleading for their lives.

October 2010: AOL buys Kidnappr for $850m.

May 2011: Iraq publishes its crowdsourced constitution. Controversial additions soon follow, including the first amendment which is simply the word "first!" and a freedom of speech amendment which, curiously, is closed to commenters.

October 2011: Crowdsourced constitution is deleted after editors decide that it doesn't meet the international community's notability guidelines. Pages dedicated to fictional characters from obscure graphic novels remain.

Satire aside, Carr's comments beg the question: can the deployment of social media/Web 2.0 solutions produce a positive impact in Iraq?

I think the answer is in the affirmative and I'd like to marshall the "goverati" in creating a counter-argument. For starters, here are three potential solutions:

1. Check out the Top Fifteen Projects that were selected as part of the 2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge that elicited feedback on potential mobile solutions for global development. Certainly, there are possibilities for application in Iraq, like QuestionBox (democratizing information and new for the illiterate, poor and unconnected), RESDIDA (mobile content distribution platform to scale organizations' reach to the poor) and Ushahidi (mobile crisis reporting).

2. Can something like Apps for Democracy work in a place like Iraq? Carr mocks a crowd-sourced Constitution, but why can't the citizens of Iraq participate in something akin to a We the People Wiki or create a "Baghdad Pedestrian" built upon the D.C. Pedestrian app. They can build it. We can help.

3. Something as simple as a YouTube channel with videos about Iraq that educates U.S. citizens about a nation where we have channeled so many resources could go a long way toward generating support for a more diplomatic approach to relations as we draw down troops over the next several months. The Multi-National Force-Iraq has just such a presence on YouTube with the express purpose of giving "viewers around the world a 'boots on the ground' perspective of Operation Iraqi Freedom from those who are most closely involved."

As a caveat, I want to grant the fact that Internet usage in Iraq is extremely low with most people connecting at Internet cafes. Nonetheless, now is the time to be brainstorming possibilities - the point of providing access to Iraq for some of the smartest tech gurus in America.

It's time to muster the mensch - the "do-gooder" Goverati - to collaboratively counter Carr's pessimism about the potential for new media to re-build Iraq.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Greatest Reward of Speaking/Training

I just received this tweet a couple minutes ago. The "Boot Camp" to which Nena's referring is the Government 2.0 Boot Camp in Knoxville, TN, where I spent the past two days.

QUICK UPDATE: Later on, I asked Nena for a few specifics related to the benefits. Here's what she said:

There is no greater reward for a speaker/trainer than when a participant shares this kind of feedback. Do you want to talk about ROI? Now that's immediate return on information sharing.

Thank YOU, Nena. You've just energized me for another six months.

P.S. More forthcoming on the event. In the meantime, you may want to check out #gov20boot for the Twitter proceedings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Social Media and Air Force: New eBook/Video

I just learned from @AFPAA and @dmscott that the Air Force has released a new ebook and video. For your convenience, I have posted them below...but want to give due credit to David Meerman Scott for a great blog post as well. The guide's stated purpose is to provide "Air Force Public Affairs professionals with basic new media knowledge needed to maneuver in the online information battlespace...This is not a comprehensive guide for conducting new media campaigns. It provides exposure to entry-level tools Airmen may use to communicate the Air Force story to broader audiences on the Web."

Click on the image above for the ebook. The video is below:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Government and Social Virtual Networking - Not Just for Kids (Anymore!)

Here's a sneak peek at my slide deck for the Government 2.0 Boot Camp in Knoxville, TN. I am actually leaving for the airport in a couple minutes, but wanted to post them so folks could have access in advance. More about the event over the next two days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Something In Common with Jack Dorsey (Twitter Creator)

Well, I guess I'm in good company. Jack Dorsey says that Twitter began with his mother. In my presentation on social media measurement, I give all due credit to mom as well. Here's Jack describing how he created Twitter:

Jack Dorsey Presents Twitter from biz stone on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Measuring Gov 2.0 (Via Web 1.0): Forrester

In two previous posts (Brookings and Foresee), I have explored common methods for measuring websites in a Web 1.0 world in order to find applicability for Web 2.0. Essentially, I am providing a summary in order to educate myself and share that knowledge acquisition with personnel from government agencies and other organizations that are beginning to think about social media metrics and analytics. Each of these measurement methods are included in a presentation that Ari Herzog and I delivered at the "Social Media for Government" conference a few weeks ago.

Another way that an organization may analyze its website is by using the “Web Site Review Scorecard 7.0” developed by Forrester Research, Inc. As a quick aside, I owe Alan Webber, formerly a government website reviewer with Forrester who is launching his own venture (called Ronin Research Group), my appreciation for reviewing this summary of Forrester's review methods.

Whereas ForeSee directly asks customers to complete a survey, Forrester engages an expert in an evaluation of a website using a scorecard review instrument. The expert assumes the role of the customer vs. being the customer him/herself. Technically, its a "heuristic evaluation," which is a review of the user experience in light of acknowledged usability principles.

The scorecard begins by asking an organization to articulate their “evaluated user goals” to ground the review in a set of clearly defined outcomes. With this foundation, each review question is scored on a -2 to +2 scale:

• 2 = Strong Pass (Best practice)
• 1 = Pass (No problems found)
• -1 = Fail (One major problem or several minor problems
• -2 = Two or more major programs, or one major problem and several minor problems

The scorecard then asks several questions related to four elements. There are specific criterion under each question that results in a score. A score of 25 (+1 on each criteria) being a pass). The elements and some of their associated questions are found below:

• Is essential content available where needed?
• Is essential function available where needed?
• Are essential content and function given priority in the display?

• Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories?
• Is the wording in hyperlinks and controls clear and informative?
• Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise?

• Does the site use graphics, icons, and symbols that are easy to understand?
• Do layouts use space effectively?
• Are interactive elements easily recognizable and behave as expected?

• Does the site present privacy and security policies in context?
• Does site functionality provide clear feedback in response to user actions?
• Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors?

The review scorecard is a bit more comprehensive, and presents yet another way of thinking about an organization’s Web presence. Per Forrester’s own description of the review, it “uncovers flaws that prevent users from accomplishing key goals on Web sites….To get the most out of the Web Site Review, site owners should identify user goals that drive business metrics, review their sites using the tools available on Forrester's Web site, and fix usability problems identified in the review.”

So what are the implications and applications for Government and Web 2.0?

A. Agencies may consider gaining a combination of feedback from both end users (ForeSee) and experts (Forrester). Alan suggested that "agencies should use multiple paths, including detailed analytics, usability reviews, user feedback" - much of which can be done internally.

B. Forrester has a Blog Review tool that is accessible to their clients. Agencies who happen to be current Forrester clients may want to examine this review tool and conduct their own analysis if they currently use blogs to communicate with citizens.

C. Consider how some of the questions above apply to social media in evaluating the placement of social media tools on your agency's website. Under "Value": Where should you place a video or RSS stream in light of its relative importance to your goals and objectives in communicating with constituents? Under "Presentation": Are you using only the icon of a Delicious or Twitter link rather than spelling out a description of that tool? We cannot assume that our end users know how to navigate a page adeptly or understand what these icons represent.

D. Start with the end in mind. Once your agency has decided to launch a social media tool, use the four Forrester elements and ask again: "How does the use of this tool on our website or elsewhere on the Web connect to our mission, goals and objectives?" That's where Forrester starts its evaluation - with the "why". So should you.

Measuring Web 2.0 (Via Web 1.0):

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fed 100 - Video of Honoree Steve Ressler, Founder of GovLoop

Last Wednesday evening, I was honored to have been invited by Steve Ressler, founder of GovLoop and co-founder of Young Government Leaders, to accompany him to the Fed 100 Awards. It was a nice evening that gave me the chance to meet several notable folks who are transforming government through their great work, such as:

> Scott Burns (@smburns) of GovDelivery

> Frank DiGiammarino at the National Academy for Public Administration

> Bev Godwin (@bevusa), former Director of who has been detailed to the White House

> Sheila Campbell, also at and co-chair of the Federal Web Manager's Council

Another honoree that I met later in the week at Gov 2.0 Camp was Eric Hackathorn (@hackshaven), who built the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Meteora Island in Second Life.

The video below captures a fun moment before we stepped into the car of Maxine Teller (@mixtmedia) to get transported to the event:

By the way, if you want to learn about more cool people working in and around government, you should definitely check out

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Web 2.0/Gov 2.0 and Generations Presentations from ASPA 2009 Annual Conference

Last Sunday and Monday, I presented two workshops at the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) 2009 Annual Conference - one entitled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Web 2.0" and the other called "Generation Shift: The Emerging Federal Workforce." Below are the slides from those sessions. Thank you to all who attended!

Web 2.0 for American Society for Public Administration Web 2.0 for American Society for Public Administration akrzmarzick Web 2.0 "101" presentation for participants at the American Society for Public Administration 2009 Annual Meeting in Miami, FL - March 2009.

American Society of Public Administration - Generation Shift: The Emerging Federal Workforce American Society of Public Administration - Generation Shift: The Emerging Federal Workforce akrzmarzick Presentation on the impact of generational diversity on the public sector workforce. Answers three questions: 1)Who are the generations? 2) What are the government-related trends? 3) How is government responding?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Measuring the Impact of Social Media in Government

Below are the slides from the presentation that Ari Herzog and I delivered at the Advanced Learning Institute's "Social Media for Government" conference in Washington, DC, on March 26. We walked participants through a process of solidifying their social media ideas, prioritizing them, establishing some metrics and creating an action plan that sets the foundation to gain stakeholder/champion buy-in and creates the initial framework for implementation. By the way, that's my mom in the photo - she sent me the initial email that connected me to Ari through Chris Brogan:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My ASPA 2009 Experience in a Twitshell

Over the past weekend, I attended the American Society for Public Administration's 2009 Annual Conference in Miami. I was invited to speak on two topics: Web 2.0/social media and the four generations in the workforce. In addition, I had the chance to attend two great sessions that really energized me. I tweeted the proceedings live. Rather than try to restructure my immediate thoughts here, it may be easier for readers to review the Twitter stream from hashtag #aspa09.

On Sunday, I enjoyed a session entitled "Intergenerational Diversity and Recruitment"

• Michael Card "Challenge of marketing to Gen Y for public service is function of formative yrs: Iran contra, Clinton scandal...
• Michael Card: Need to re-brand (my word) public sector ... bright, dynamic, digital ... can't control message, but define benefits
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "Intergenerational Diversity" speaking is Anne Zahradnik, PhD (psychologist) from Long Island University.
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "Young people's brains more facile in manipulating info, neuro studies reveal significant differences"
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "Neuro studies show that young people are less adept at reading people"
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "Increasing stress in Western work environ...unique to gov: politically defined/changing priorities"
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "A 4-Tier, 12-Factor Model of Organizational Health" found here:
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik :"Because work so tied to people's persona, will save best behavior for work issues pub revealed ltr
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "Foundation of organizational health is leadership, succession planning, employee wellness"
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: "Plaque at end of year not as effective for reward/ praise is the key."
• Fisher Org Health research: "40% of US staff turnover due to stress; cost to replace ave employee=$3K - $13K"
• "Most disaffected folks in workforce today are those 30-49...feel very alienated."
• "Trust and respect between staff and managers real low for those 40-49..."
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: Training/skill development for young people...but seem to ignore the middle (30-49)...contributes to discontentDr. Anne Zahradnik: Those age 40-49 are most disaffected group...and are having an impact on younger folks b/c they're the leaders!
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik - Recommends:stabilize structure, develop ldrshp , develop cross-gen mentoring, balance cross-gen recruitment
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik - more recs: modify training (more participation), adopt comprehensive workplace wellness program
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik - more recs: more open communication and transparency needed in orgs, forums for gens to talk
• Dr. Anne Zahradnik: money is not biggest motivator...people (at all ages) want good teamwork
• Lois Redman-Simmons: 2 predictive traits of public service employment = compassion and self-sacrifice
• Lois Redman-Simmons - One of the top predictors of public service employment: the father being a government employee!
• Lois Redman-Simmons - Undergraduate programs in public administration play a key role in influencing future government employees.
• Lois Redman-Simmons Marketing for gov employees: Target the offspring of fathers in public service...murmurs in crowd: why not moms?
• Q: Any gov-employed moms here on Twitter whose children became/are becoming/interested in public sector employment?
• RT @tericee : "My parents worked for the government; I joined the military. Does that count?" It counts, Teri! #aspa09
• PLEASE NOTE...all tweets attributed to Anne Zahradnik should be Patricia Fischer ('twas confused by slides)
• More on Patricia Fisher and Anne Zahradnik of Fisher and Associates can be found here:
• Comment from audience at Intergenerational Diversity and Recruitment: "Need to account for retirement trends changing..."
• Comment from audience at Intergenerational Diversity and Recruitment: "High intrinsic motivation key to analyze in recruitment"
• Thank you for reading my tweets on this past session! On to the next one...

On Monday, I participated in "Chapter Strategies for the New Diversity: Voices of Young Professionals Part 2." My tweets are below:

• In a session at ASPA Annual Conference on "Chapter Strategies for the New Diversity" - results of survey on desires of young people.
• New Diversity Survey Results: 1) Opportunities for growth, 2) More encouragement for non-doctoral students, 3) Less academic
• "New Diversity" strategies for retention: created subcommittees based on stated needs - networking and mentoring
• Internet communication tools: use Facebook, Gmail (listserv), John Jay College Blackboard, #govloop , LinkedIn
• Since started using the Web-based tools, more participation and members feel more connected...esp. beyond email.
• Using mobile technology to spread word about job opportunities - "our own networking community"
• The trouble w/ can ASPA (or any association) bring added value to members when so much is free?
• Fees allow the local chapters to do more with networking and mentoring programs.
• Pool awards points to benefit all members...
• Finding ways to mitigate financial barriers for conference attendance, like sharing hotel rooms
• At nxt yr's conference in San Jose, CA, invite local members to open homes for folks who can't afford hotel
• Leverage networks created by Organizing for America (and Republican equiv) to link ASPA chapter members
• Keep a tabbed list of professor members at schools to better link to current/prospective students
• Another respondent: integrate membership value into public administration curriculum at universities
• Value-add for conferences - onsite interviewing and/or resume building...worth price of admission to link to job

So that's my ASPA experience in a Twitshell. There are some incredible nuggets of insight within these bullet points that require some discussion and I hope to explore some of these topics in greater depth in subsequent posts.

Any initial thoughts or insights from you at this point?

Measuring Gov 2.0 (via Web 1.0): Foresee

NOTE: This post is part of a series entitled Measuring Gov 2.0, But First Web 1.0 Analysis. You may also be interested in the first study in which I highlighted website measurement by the Brookings Institution.

In 1999, the US government selected the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which is produced by the University of Michigan, to be the standard metric for measuring citizen satisfaction with e-government services. The ACSI has been used by more than 100 federal government agencies to evaluate over 200 services and programs found on the Web. Survey data is collected from voluntary, randomly selected respondents. Each website was rate by guests based on several elements related to satisfaction, then converted to a 100-point scale. The ACSI methodology uses the following four factors to measure user satisfaction:

• Functionality
• Look and Feel
• Navigation
• Search

In addition, the ACSI E-Government Index created functional categories to enable agencies to benchmark one another. These categories are:

• Career and recruitment
• E-commerce and transactional
• News and Information
• Portals and department main sites

What did they learn? Here’s a summary of the key findings (taken directly from the report):

• Citizen satisfaction with e-gov is the highest in five years with satisfaction with e-gov at 74.1 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale - the increase in scores is linked to to a rise in satisfaction with e-commerce and transactional sites.

• E-gov that satisfies citizens is more efficient and cost-effective. Eight out ten citizens who are highly satisfied with a federal government website are more likely to use the website as a primary resource (86%) and to recommend the website (84%).

• Search, functionality, and navigation continue to be the top priorities for improvement. In particular, improving search will have the biggest impact on overall satisfaction.

• Citizens are most satisfied with e-commerce/transaction government websites.

• Citizens prefer to interact with federal government online versus offline.

So what agencies rank the highest on the ACSI scale? Here are the top 5 websites at the Federal department level:

2. GSA
3. National Institute for Standards and Technology
4. Government Accountability Office
5. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

If you were to explore each of these sites in a search for Web 2.0 features, only NASA and GSA would lead you to blogs, podcasts, RSS and more. The last three are sorely lacking any interactive or collaborative elements.

So what are the implications and applications for Government and Web 2.0?

A. Citizens are increasingly interacting with government websites to accomplish key activities and they are increasingly HAPPY with what they find when they arrive!

B. Citizens want better search, functionality and navigation – how can tagging, bookmarking, “digging” and other interactive features improve their user experience?

C. Citizens want to DO something when they visit sites, as evidenced by the level of satisfaction with e-commerce and transaction sites. That bodes well for Web 2.0 features that call upon the visitor to create and share content and ideas. Yes, they want to find information quickly and easily, but they also want to do more than read.

D. How can agencies use direct surveys and polling with their customers to gain real-time feedback regarding satisfaction with the new collaboration tools that they deploy?

E. Take a closer look at the “Career and Recruitment” category. With the difficult navigation of being discussed broadly by current and potential public sector personnel, it behooves an agency to post key jobs on their own site....and to find methods for more quickly vetting them. Moreover, an agency that looks “cool” from its Web presence may be more likely to attract the best and brightest new hires.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Issues Are You Having with Social Media at Your Organization?

During a social networking session between presentations at the ALI Social Media for Government Conference, participants were asked what issues they were having related to Web 2.0/social media. Here's their list:

1. Convincing senior management (cited at least three times)
2. Finding resources (human and financial)
3. Overcoming fear
4. Achieving balance with digital and traditional solutions
5. Gaining access (often restricted)
6. Integrating social media in current plans
7. Creating policy
8. Engaging subject matter experts
9. Making the case for initiation/implementation
10. Prioritizing (where to start?)
11. Maintaining privacy

What issues are you having?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Measuring Gov 2.0 (via Web 1.0): Brookings

As I mentioned in this post, I am producing a blog series regarding the measurement of Web 1.0 in preparation for an upcoming presentation with Ari Herzog on Thursday, March 26. I originally blogged about the Brookings Study here on January 25. Consider this post a "Part 2" with a bit more detail about the study itself and some brief commentary on its application to Gov 2.0

Since 2000, the Brookings Institution has analyzed more than 1,500 state and federal government websites. These websites are ranked on a zero to 100-point scale called the e-government index that measures the presence of the following website features:

• Advertisements
• Audio clips
• Commenting
• Databases
• Digital signatures on transactions
• Disability access
• E-mail contact information
• E-mail updates
• Foreign language access
• Pay via credit card
• PDA or handheld device accessibility
• Personalization of the website
• Premium fees
• Privacy policies
• Publications
• Security policies
• User fees
• Video clips

Each of these features is worth 4 points. With 18 features noted above, a website may obtain a total of 72 points. Websites may receive another 28 points based on the number of these online services that are available. For instance, if there are 4 audio clips, a sign-up for receiving e-mail updates and a personalized page for kids, my understanding is that the website receives 6 more points.

In other words, the key question being asked in this study is: do they have the feature or not? If so, give them the points. If not, no points are granted. I am sure that the research and analysis is a bit more sophisticated than this simple presentation, but you have a sense of the methodology.

Some of the results from the Brookings Study are important as we consider e-government adaptation of social media. For instance, just 48% of websites included the possibility of users offering “comments” and only 25% created “personalization” of the user experience. If the hallmark of Web 3.0 will be mobility, then we have a long way to travel as only 3% of the websites were accessible by PDA.

The study’s recommendations included:

1. Websites should have strong privacy and security policies so users feel safe while online.
2. Agencies should have layouts similar to the portal page.
3. Agencies should have navigational guides and site maps.
4. The “What’s New?” section should be conveniently located on each agency’s homepage.
5. All websites should have search engines.
6. Agencies should strive to have personalized web pages, such as a kids’ page.
7. Website should provide foreign language accessibility.

While these recommendations are valid and useful, they are clearly measuring a Web 1.0 reality: the extent to which information is shared with the end user, but not whether the visitor is being invited to interact with the agency.

So what are the implications and applications for Government and Web 2.0?

A. The Brookings methodology presents one model for measuring government agencies and Web 2.0. What if we listed a series of Web 2.0 tools, like blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, video sharing sites, social networks, etc. and assigned points based on an agency’s use of them or not?

B. Privacy and security issues are still critical with Web 2.0. Keep elements on the list of features to be included in an updated evaluation of government Web activity.

C. Personalization is another hallmark of Web 2.0. Like or, agencies should consider creating dedicated web sites or web pages for key initiatives and programs or making it clear where a person can find information from the agency home page.

D. Personalization should also include the degree to which a user can manipulate a web site to view content that is relevant to them, including the use of movable or embeddable widgets.

Enough from me - what are your thoughts?