Thursday, February 26, 2009

Social Media for Loudoun County VA Businesses

(As also published this month in the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Biz Connect newsletter).

As the Obama administration settles into office this year, what’s described as the “most connected ever” group of leaders are quickly focusing on how to leverage the groundswell of “social media” use and expertise demonstrated by the campaigns. Social media, proven useful in politics, is rapidly being adopted by students and families, and is dramatically changing the landscape of traditional news reporting. But is it good for business, here in Loudoun and Northern Virginia?

Social media may be difficult to define, but you’ll know it when you see it. It’s about talking back to the web, sharing your opinion, and participating in a multimedia dialogue among interested people in public – anonymously or not. There are many styles of online conversation and tools – from those focusing on photos or videos (like “Flickr” and “YouTube”), to reviews (like Yelp”), to those focusing on profiles, expertise or favorite bookmarks (i.e. “Facebook”, “LinkedIn” and “Delicious”). For business owners and employees, the prospect of engaging customers in a public, un-moderated dialogue (that can’t be erased) can be daunting. Local businesses typically aren’t used to this – but it’s already an expectation of most online customers.

Read more at the Loudoun Times...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Digital Asset Socialization - and Other Mashonyms

The practice of leveraging digital asset management and exploitation techniques combined with social media tools to provide new ROI opportunities from existing corporate information assets.

Socialize your digital assets (but still treat and manage them as information, that has both explicit and implicit value).

That's right - another new mashonym - i.e. mashing up some key terms and acronyms pulled from the swirl of Web 2.0 to come up with a new one....

Fun with terms I've invented so far:

- Mashonym - Web 2.0-driven mashups of social media acronyms
- Avonym
- DAS - Digital Asset Socialization - see above
- Ecovent - Ecosystemic (i.e. ecologically perceived and managed) events - i.e. the cause-effect context of a temporal, geospatial event to faceted ecosytems.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Information Sharing: Government vs. Open Source

I had the privilege of spending many hours over the past several days immersed in expert discussion about Information Sharing, from several different perspectives.

In the "open source" Web 2.0 community (at last week's Potomac Techwire Internet Outlook 2009 event), the consensus seems to be that there's a short period of "wait and see" ahead of us, to find out which online information-sharing social media capabilities will become the next big thing...Twitter's very much wait and see, Facebook has excellent fundamentals and a strong core framework, and 20-somethings on Myspace are increasingly "icked out" by the quickly growing population of 40-somethings. Everyone in the room raised their hands when asked if they were on LinkedIn. Regardless of the platform and tool, one thing was certain; online information-sharing and user-defined data aggregation (i.e. mashups) is in full-blown growth mode, and privacy is dead. That's right, according to a panelist, no one these days "should have any expectation at all of online data privacy, and should behave accordingly".

In contrast to this statement, the esteemed panelists at yesterdays AFCEA breakfast on information-sharing and collaboration, from DHS, ICE, EPA, DoS and other government agencies, led a discussion on the rapidly-developing information-sharing standards, architecture frameworks and collaborative initiatives - all within very controlled privacy policies and programs. By many laws and regulations, personal privacy and its protection is a very serious matter within the firewalls of the Federal Government - but the "experiments" happening in many areas concerning use of social media are quickly mandating re-examination of privacy policies and associated security control mechanisms. There exist many very successful information-sharing programs in DHS, for example, that leverage user-defined collaborative tools and Enterprise 2.0 techniques (including the Homeland Security Information Network,, or HSIN, and TSA and FEMA's use of blogging and stakeholder feedback tools). However, there aren't yet many examples of "open-source" social media utilization occuring across the public-government security boundary; on most networks, access to tools like Facebook or Twitter is prevented.

Perhaps the most promising potential enabler of public-government information sharing initiatives is the "National Information Exchange Model" (or NIEM). This is a program originally created at the Department of Justice to standardize reporting and communication of data regarding law enforcement; it's now run by the DHS to serve as a standards framework for message exchange across the entire Homeland Security community - including all security echelons, and potential communication across the firewalls of government. Tuesday's "RFI day" for the software vendor community interested in assisting this effort was well-attended; representatives from every major software company and Homeland Security systems integration and technology consulting community were there, from IBM and Microsoft to Deloitte and Blackstone Technology Group (an SOA/ESB and Information Sharing technology consulting company). As a very well-supported standard and program, this should rapidly enable semantic data exchange among all government entities, as well as set the stage for standardized exposure or consumption of open-source data. Vint Serf himself (a.k.a. the "Father of the Internet", now Chief Evangelist for Google) noted, as the keynote speaker, that the NIEM program showed great promise, and was likely the kind of initiative that would greatly assist in conquering some of the next "big issues" coming along that he was working on, including "cloud-computing-to-cloud-computing" integration and expansion of the Internet to outer space...along with our so-called "private" information now controlled by Facebook.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Brand Ambassador for Government 2.0

Great post recently about the Government 2.0 "Brand Ambassador", in FCW by Mark Drapeau.

"It’s easy to see governments and their agencies as nameless, faceless monoliths, something impersonal or, even worse, untrustworthy. But that notion only prevails because government culture remains steeped in traditional ideas about public relations and outreach work, notions that have become archaic in an Internet-enabled, hyperconnected world.

As private companies are learning to embrace social media to manage brand reputations, governments also must adapt if they wish to communicate more effectively with their citizens and stakeholders — their customers.

Just like private companies, agencies need to manage their public identity — their brands — to create trust and loyalty. "

This is great insight, as organizations such as DHS are stepping up their efforts and awareness around leveraging Social Media, both from a "push" perspective (i.e. communicating and engaging in dialogues w/constituents), a "pull" perspective (i.e. accepting feedback), and an "awareness" perspective (i.e. monitoring the social media landscape for operational insight).

Read more....