How to Engage Citizens through Social Media

I attended a session from the Gov2.0 Camp around Using Social media for OutreachHere are the notes.

Educate – Frame the conversation – Deliberate on the issues – Identify shared priorities – Refine conversation – Bring back conversation – Act

Gov2.0 Camp March 27, 2009

Gov2.0 Camp March 27, 2009

Questions people want to get out of the session:

  • How can we use web 2.0 tools effectively?
  • Twitter strategy for outreach
  • Using social media to create awareness
  • How do you define success? (Google moderator)
  • How to engage public in a meaningful way
  • How do we use social media to gain trust in the customer base
  • Connecting communities – promote collaboration
  • Building online audience and drive to 1:1 relationships
  • Media think tank outreach
  • Communication to senior leaders on why they need to be involved in the social media
  • Metrics, privacy issues, how do you know the impact
  • Sharing best practices
  • Security issues, guidelines on what to say and what not to say
  • How we filter what will help us and what’s jus t the noise
  • Inform the public on what we do
  • Want to make sure that the vocal people do not drown out the conversation –by having topical blogs to drive the conversation
  • Capitalize greater government transparency through social media
  • Bridge cultures using social technology
  • Elaborate and leverage the network
  • Want to get beyond the numbers when measure success. How are we going to action the information to help set priority and utilize the information in a meaningful way
  • How to overcome management resistance
  • How to engage in the public through technology in the time of crises

What is meaningful participation? Meaningful is in the eye of the beholder, start with the mission and define the right mix that help you as an organization.

  • Recommend a book written in 1965 by Ellul: Propaganda How you skew information, depending on your purpose and how you are trying to influence. How unity and action need to work together.
  • You can use social tool to establish relationship with people with 1:1 levels
  • How do you start? Begin with a dialogue, keep it rolling by user generated content

o Make sure you know what people want to do

o How will you make it successful? Credibility

It’s important to include what the citizens think (comments) as meaningful metrics

– One of the success measure is to see that their audience / comments self moderate

  • People have to have a mechanism to know that their comments will make a difference
  • Need to be responsible for managing the outcome, take ation and communicate that to the public
  • Recommend to use Metafilter and Dailypost, which has a 24 hour delay to monitor the comments
  • Set expectations to your audience has to understand that not every comments has to be responded to
  • Social media Showing a face from the inside of the agency can express more government transparency
  • America Speaks is hiring. Check out

Is our Govenment Open to Share?



I attended the Gov 2.0 breakfast yesterday, hosted by BearingPoint and Information Week. We discussed topics around how government can benefit from using web 2.0 technologies. Below is the summary and my walk-away from the meeting:

·         Social media is a new way of managing across organizations, breaking the boundaries.

·         Set expectations and be realistic.

·          You cannot manage the entire group, but you can involve all for collaboration

·         How to get greater adoption to social media with the organization?  By gaining top-down advocacy.

Support needs to come from top leadership, where they have true interest and can benefit from the efforts. I have seen a few social media initiatives stall due to the lack of management support coupled by lack of linkage to business objectives.


·         Where do you look for inspiration? From other agencies/organizations that have implemented web 2.0 technologies.

·         Beware of the Shiny Object Syndrome. Web 2.0 seems to be the hottest thing on the web. Do spend some time to understand the technology and culture before you venture out.

·         80% of the value initially may be searchable information. Rather than file cabinet hidden. Don’t underestimate ‘electronic search’. Getting information out to the public.

·         There is inherent conflict between rules and usage. The more rules you create the less participation.

·         Organizational hierarchy is going to get disrupted. Thanks to web 2.0, communication is no longer coming from top-down. Rather bottoms-up, crisscross in all directions.


How do you start? 

·         Try out now tools while at the same time figuring out what you want to achieve

·         Understand your business objective and set a realistic goal

·         Expectations management , taking baby steps to approach this infancy stages of social media

·         be open to learning and be patient

·         A new set of shiny web 2.0 tool is only good if people adapt to it. And the reality is that it takes a while for the culture to shift and eventually change

My favorite quotes of the day:

·         Can political leadership not be an oxymoron?

·         Letting a 1000 flowers bloom when the gardener is anal-retentive

First comes SharePoint, then comes Wiki


First comes SharePoint,

SharePoint! A Microsoft product you either hate or love. Microsoft states,
Your organization can use Office SharePoint Server 2007 to facilitate collaboration, provide content management features, implement business processes, and supply access to information that is essential to organizational goals and processes.
I partially agree with that statement. I think SharePoint can be a great tool for document repository. As for collaboration, it works for a small team with minimal documents. When used appropriately, SharePoint is also useful for content management. There are powerful features of SharePoint; the problem is that it is not intuitive. You almost have to be a SharePoint expert to appreciate all the SharePoint capabilities. Oftentimes documents are buried under multiple folders. It is difficult to get a dashboard view of the projects and documents housed in SharePoint. Bottom line, SharePoint is not the Holy Grail.

Then comes wiki …

Now we’re talking collaboration. Wikis are designed from the start for participation. Wiki is defined as a web based social collaboration tool that allows anyone to edit and contribute content. Wiki allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Usually, editing a wiki space is just a matter of clicking the edit button on any page top or section header, much simpler than track changes in Word.doc or editing via SharePoint.
Wikis provide a platform for people to work together, build knowledge, and make connections. Like anything, wiki has its limitations also. Although we are now seeing more plug-ins for open source wikis to enhance features. Currently, there is no way of directly embed PowerPoint slides into the wiki. A way around it is embed PowerPoint slide into Slideshare, then embed Slideshare in the wiki. Same thing with videos, it needs to be embedded via YouTube. Doable, but could be better. Click here to see some great ways companies can use wikis.
Overall, wiki is a great tool for open collaboration while SharePoint is a great tool for document repository.

Kadidid thoughts

Whenever I come across something interesting, I’d say to myself: ‘I need to blog about this’. But then the day goes on and I find myself getting trapped in my bottomless list-to-dos. So I am taking matters into my own hands and going just blog about the random things that I want to share. Let’s call it Kadidid thoughts. Warning: These thoughts have no common relationship. For those who knows me, my thoughts are typically random as my mind goes a million miles a minute.


1. Wordle is such a cool tool. I use it to make the word pic above.  


2. I don’t like the new Facebook look and feel. I am happy to know that I am not the only one .


3. Watch out for Google’s Beta Knol – part wiki, part blog, and part social computing platform though it is most often being compared with Wikipedia. Read more?

Facebook for Spies?

Social networking has been a hot topic for the last few years. Increasing number of corporations are adapting social networking into their business infrastructure. Most recently the social networking buzz landed with the government.


U.S. Intelligence agencies have created a social networking site called A-Space. It is designed for analysts across 16 intelligence agencies across the nation.  Instead of sharing opinions on perhaps the latest movie on Facebook, A-Space users are sharing information about al Qaeda and other national security related issues. For the first time spies can have a chance to think out loud and share top secret information amongst their peers.


Like other social networking sites, the goal to A-Space is to promote community and connectivity by assessing all the information available – to the spy agencies that is.


Food for thought:

If the intelligence community is already embracing social networking, why are there still so much resistance on adapting to social networking strategies in corporations?  Things that make you go hum..


Oh by the way,  the information on A-Space is highly classified, only intelligence personnel with the proper security clearance can access the site. Looks like 007 is still the way to go for a sneak peak of the Spy world.


Read more about this topic.


Are there more women or men using Social Networking Sites?

Gender and Age Data of Social Network Users
I found some Interesting data around the gender and age of the social nework users.

  • Between ages 14-24, there are more female than male users on all major social networking sites
  • Between ages 24-34, you can see shifting from male to female as the majority users, Specifically Flickr, Hi5, LinkedIn, and Friendster 
  • From ages 34 – 44, we can see the reverse trend as female social networking users become slightly less than male users . Since this is the popular age group for people to get married and start a family, perhaps women are busier juggling between work and family. hmm..  perhaps men should be encouraged to help out more around the house so that women can spend more time social networking. Just kidding, or am I 🙂 ?

Click here for detailed information.

Vado Vs. Flip



I just bought a Vado, a pocket video camcorder by Creative , released May 2008. Reason for wanting a video gizmo? To be able to capture videos spontaneously. After one week of using Vado, I am really liking it. It is small, inexpensive ($99), light (less than 3 oz), and because of its very ‘plastic’ texture, I feel comfortable letting my 6 year old daughter handling it.


I did a comparison video from a Vado and Flip:


Vado vs. Flip


Shot with Vado


Shot with Flip



When comparing 1:1, I can see the difference in video and sound quality. Flip has higher quality. Will I return my Vado for a Flip? No. For my intention of using a pocket camcorder, the ease of use (I like the easy upload to youtube), light weight and rechargeable bettery outweighs the slight difference in quality. One thing of note. The Flip camcorder was accidentally dropped once, and from that, the keys are more difficult to respond (to play and stop when recording). While I am not going to drop my Vado to test out the result, I seem to think Vado will have a better resistance because of it’s plastic frame as compared to the Flip which has a metal frame.


Have you seen the tan guy with long thick blond dreadlocks, red shorts walking on Connecticut Avenue?


Another reason I want a pocket camcorder is to interview the Connecticut Walker. If you live in the DC, Rockville area, there is this blond guy, tan, muscular, early 30s with thick dreadlocks down pass his shoulders, and always wearing red shorts without a shirt (in the winter, he would wear a pair of red sweat pants with a t-shirt). My description of him may make him sound hotter than he is. I would imagine he has lots of wrinkles on his face from walking in the sun day-in and day-out. I would see him walking very fast paced up and down Connecticut Avenue at different times, rain or shine. I don’t think he has a car. Sometimes I spotted him by Chevy Chase DC, and other times by Olney, Maryland, which is a good 17 miles away, a long way to walk. I have always wanted to ask him who he is and why he is always walking. So hopefully one day soon I’ll report back with a video of the Connecticut Walker.


Want more info on Vado?

Short video of exactly what to expect from Vado in the box to using Vado

Click here for comparison of the latest pocket camcorders


The perfect example of a viral online video ad

I just saw the most brilliant video from What makes it viral? It is funny and unexpected, enough so that I want to share with my friends, regardless of the project they are trying to sell.

Be your audience , be the audience, be the user, see it from the user’s perspective. Don’t over think it.

Have a brand+personality. Personally I prefer messages that I can relate to, instead of reading an ad from the corporate HP voice, I prefer to hear it from a guy’s (working in HP product marketing) opinion on the product.

It’s fun to watch. I was laughing throughout the video of the people’s expressions. The first thing I want to do is to share with friends.

It’s real. Even though the performance was staged, what made me laugh is to see the expressions of (non-actors) people’s face.

As a related article mentioned, “It’s relevant to the product being advertised. By capturing the looks on people’s faces as they’re ambushed by live performance, the ad is a poignant reminder of the joy of the theater. is a ticket-selling service, and the swift URL drop at the end of the video connects the message to the product.”




How to be a Blogstar?

courtesy of

Did you know that every day, 70,000 new blogs appear on the Internet?

More and more people are becoming bloggers. Some have lots to say about a particular subject, and some have much to say about nothing. As Frank Gruber said from the recent speech at the Social Rockstar Workshop, ‘everyone can be a rockstar! Thanks so new media’.

Just what steps should one take to cultivate a popular blog? Well, that depends on your audience and intention. For some, simply being who you are is enough, for others, have a gain respect by providing content which one value such as analysis of a particular subject or industry. With the thousands of blogs added to the Internet every week, what are some best practices to help the want to be rockstar bloggers grow into something buzz worthy?

Blogstar Do’s and Don’ts


  • Write somthing newsworthy
  • Blog about your original view point
  • Comment on other blogs
  • Quote from other bloggers and write about them
  • Write able something you are passionate on
  • Be authentic
  • Link to others and write about them


  • Copy other’s content
  • Attack other bloggers
  • ignore comments

Want to read more? Voxant has a great write up about Basic blogger etiquette.
Fortune has a good article on do’s and don’ts of corporate blogging.


Happy Blogging!


International Trend for online behavior

Interesting trend around the international blog and user-generated video participation. I got be chart below from Grundswell, it is based on from a Forrester research data.

As seen from chart below, Japan and Korea are leading the blog readership, with U.S. as a close third. Clearly this is the direction we are heading with increasing blog posts. The U.S. is leading the user generated video space, which is mainly due to U-Tube providing mostly English content. No doubt web based videos is and will continue to be a hot trend.