Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Testing TokBox - An Unvarnished View of Web 2.0 Experimentation

So often we think that we have to make something perfect before posting publicly.

Do you read and re-read posts before publishing? Do you fret over minor errors or timing issues on a podcast? Do you hesitate before posting a video because it's a bit shaky or lacks a level of professionalism seen on news sites?

I tend to be a perfectionist by nature, and that character flaw is only amplified by the pressure of putting something of "high quality" out on the Web for others to see. Well, I am attempting to overcome my obsessive-compulsive desire to get it "just right" by posting the video below. A friend of mine told me about TokBox this morning and immediately came home to test it out. Here are the results:

Why do I share this with you? Well, as I've said before, one of the keys to implementing and using Web 2.0/social media tools is to understand that it's all trial and error. We're all learning together. New apps and tools are released weekly, if not daily. So we try them out and see what works for us. Rather than trying to look like an expert or as if I have it all together, I'd like to show you some of my stumbling steps into this wild world of Web 2.0. I hope it encourages you to get started...even if you don't produce a perfect outcome the first time (or every time).

UPDATE: By the way, I'd love to chat with you on TokBox. You can find me at!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Top 10 2.0 - Inspired by the Sunlight Foundation


Over on GovLoop, Susan Scrupski made an appeal for "Web 2.0 Zealots" to list their Top 10 2.0 Tools for the sake of Sunlight Foundation co-Founder Ellen Miller.

Here's the survey.

And here are my responses:

1. Yuuguu - Screen sharing. I use it at least twice a week so that me and others are 'on the same page.'

2. Doodle - Got a large group and can't nail down a meeting time? This is the tool for you.

3. Calameo - I convert my documents to this book-like format as it offers a "cool" factor and it's embeddable and downloadable.

4. TalkShoe - Create podcasts in minutes. Record a teleconference and make it downloadable to your PDA...just in case you missed it (or slept through it).

5. Go2Web20 - Don't go here. Seriously, you will spend hours on this website...if you are a true "Web 2.0 Zealot." It's the Mecca, the Holy Grail, the main mine in the 2.0 Gold Rush. Don't say I didn't warn you!

6. Twhirl - Superior to Tweetdeck, IMHO. Similar functionality, but takes less of your screen.

7. Pandora - Hands down, the coolest site on the web. If you like music, you will L-O-V-E Pandora. The element of surprise is it's hallmark.

8. Ning - Forget Facebook. Create your own customized version. I recently reserved my family name so that we'd all have one place to share thoughts, pictures, video, important dates, etc.

9. Skype - More like Web 3.0 as it allows anytime, anywhere free calling user-to-user with video and chat. Talk to and see your international friends, family and colleagues for free.

10. Audacity - The step beyond TalkShoe. If you want to edit what you created in TalkShoe, you can do it here. If you want a free way to create and enhance podcasts from scratch, welcome to your best friend.

What are your Top 10?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

California CPM Resource Guide

Test Blog Post for California CPM

I am demonstrating in real-time how to set up a blog post for the CA CPM program.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Than 25 Tabs Open, Thanks to Twitter!

I've been having the problem of my Flock browser crashing a lot lately. Maybe it's because I have more than 25 tabs open with links that I wanted to read from folks on Twitter and my travels across the Web. If you find yourself perched on a stream of tweets all day, you know what I mean.

"Oh, I'll get to that later," you say to yourself. Before long, you find yourself, like me, with scores of must read material awaiting your attention.

Well, congratulations! You are about to become the beneficiary of my more than 25 Tabs because I've got to close and re-load my browser...and I don't know if I want to social bookmark them all. So here's what I've been meaning to read (which you can check out for yourself now):

1. How Government Is Using Social Media to Respond to Citizens

2. InnovGov: A Series of Workshops and Events

3. NextGov's Top 5 Government Websites

4. Federal Agencies and Web 2.0 (from the Sunlight Foundation)

5. Metagovernment - I'll leave it at that and spur your curiosity

6. Decatur, Georgia - Ready to Enter the Virtual Realm

7. Government 2.0 Wiki (started by Mike Kujawski) - been meaning to fill it in...feel free to help.

8. Forrester Website Review Tools

9. Europeana - a huge collection of all things European (think online museum)

10. Benchmarking eGov in Web 2.0 - David Osimo's EU Perspective on Gov 2.0

11. Benchmarking eGov - The White Paper - Also by David Osimo

12. eSpeakers - Just in case I really decide to make the leap!

13. National Speaker Association - yeah, I'm really thinking about hitting the circuit one day.

14. Executive Speakers Bureau - so I had a bee in my bonnet on a particular afternoon and envisioned myself as the next Zig Ziglar!

15. 60 Second Communications - my top secret, multi-million dollar project builds on these tips.

16. Dorobek Insider's Introduction of GSA CIO Casey Coleman

17. Public Service Careers - ASPA's Response to USAJobs

18. GovExec Story on Young Employees, Pay and Performance

19. Benchmark for Obama's Web 2.0 Vision

20. Business Week on Social Media Analytics

21. Social Media Classroom - New Web 2.0 Platform for Education

21. Open Gardens Blog - Ajit Jaokar in the UK talks about Policy Bloggers

22. Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide
- A book I am thinking about buying.

23. Social Media Metrics
- a search on Jeremiah Owyang's blog

24. In the Public We Trust - a Gallup/Partnership for Public Service Survey

25. - eliciting videos from average Americans about emergency preparations

26. IPMA HR Speakers Bureau - goes along with the speaking stuff above.

27. LinkedIn Entry about Boomers Retiring (or Not?)

What have you been reading?

Gov 2.0 in Canada - Presentation by Mike Kujawski

Mike Kujawski, Gov 2.0 advocate/guru in Ottawa, Canada, just posted a presentation he delivered for the Canada School of Public Service. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My First Meeting in Second Life: C'est La Vie...Deuxième

Real life brings its fair share of embarrassing moments.

Tonight marked my first embarrassing moments in Second Life.

Sure, I have been giving participants in my Web 2.0 workshops a pseudo-tour of SL, but I had never attended an actual meeting with live interaction.

Learning that MuniGov 2.0 was hosting its weekly event in SL, I decided to join them. I teleported to the meeting right around 7 p.m. ET and found about 10 avatars sitting at a long wooden table. "Recognizable" faces included GovLoopers Pam Broviak (Lasalle, IL) and Bill Greeves (Roanoke, VA). There were probably more GovLoopers present, but their avatar names made it difficult to discern. All greeted the newbie (Zedeka Nadezda) warmly.

I walked around the table, attempting to sit in a chair, but realized that I didn't know how to perform that function yet! So I stood next to it. Just when I was starting to get psyched about the experience, SL crashed on me for the first time.

After rebooting my machine, I returned to hear a discussion regarding the importance of providing orientation to new folks. If I knew how to raise my hand, I would have done so at that moment...or if I knew that my microphone was working, I would have given them an "Amen!"

Pam Broviak politely asked if she was sitting in my chair. "No," I typed my reply. I'll just continue to stand directly and awkwardly behind your chair, making you nervous and demonstrating my status as part of the "noob herd" that Greever's discussing with the group... you know, the new folks that can bog it down! I chuckled to myself and wondered when I could schedule my first session.

Another Pam (Renoir - not sure it that's a real or SL name) reached out through an IM to help me feel less uncomfortable. It's probably bad etiquette during a meeting, but I acknowledged her kindness (and showed her that I figured out another feature!) by sending her a friend invitation. She accepted. And SL crashed on me again.

Not wanting to disturb their meeting further, I elected not to log back in. I am sure Zedeka stood there slumped over for the rest of the proceedings, looking like he was catching up on some much needed sleep. In the meantime, my new friend Pam Renoir had emailed me in real life to inquire about my virtual health and well-being.

So what are the lessons from my first meeting in Second Life? Here are three:

1. Don't be afraid to get started. I admit that I entered the meeting with trepidation, knowing that I would encounter some SL pros. They were gracious and welcoming, and I plan to attend again armed with a bit more knowledge about navigation.

2. Request an orientation session. And speaking of gaining knowledge, the group was obviously anticipating this influx of neophytes and are planning to host or leverage the existing orientation available in SL. When I tweeted my experience a few minutes later, one of the State Department's SL ambassadors (@lovisatalk) offered to give me some training as well.

3. Allow yourself to make mistakes. I'm sure my future adventures in SL, at least for the short term, will continue to provide some humbling moments. Most new endeavors have a significant learning curve, but it's usually worth the investment of time and energy.

So now that I have shared my embarrassing moments in Second Life, I'd like to hear yours! What has been your experience in SL - good, bad and ugly? What are your tips for getting started?

In fact, I'd like to open up the floor here to see what other gaffes people are having in their initial ventures into social media. It's a whole new world on the Web for many...and we're bound to have some laughable - and highly valuable - lessons to share!

This story was originally posted at