July 31, 2009

Best new Twitter tool: HootSuite 2.0

Guest post by Chris Abraham
Abraham-Harrison

Back in the earlier days of third-party Twitter apps (just a few months ago, actually), a few very effective web-based services got my attention: SocialToo, TweetLater, and HootSuite. Sad thing was, while they were all very powerful services, they were all poorly designed, very hacked together, and fugly. Enter the elegant, sexy, feature-rich HootSuite 2.0 (no matter what you think about all the controversy and extortion — see below).

Everyone’s talking about HootSuite 2.0

Today, while I was monitoring my stream-o-tweets, I noticed that every third person of the 2,587 I currently follow were tweeting that they “upgraded to #HootSuite 2.0 because it works http://hootsuite.com/upgrade.” HootSuite — pronounced like it sounds (HOOT-sweet) and a play on the French phrase tout de suite — was the first online player to offer multi-Twitter-account management and Twittering, an essential tool to any business application of Twitter that required the management of more than one Twitter account, such as @marcon, @abrahamharrison, @chrisabraham, etc.

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July 31, 2009

Empowering youth with social media

Amy Sample WardRecently, Bebo hosted an all-day event for members of the No to Knives and Crime Coalition, as well as others working in the sector of positive youth engagement in London and beyond.  I want to share my slides and notes here for those who attended as well as for all those out there who didn’t.

My presentation (above) concentrated on a few case studies where certain technologies were the appropriate tools for engagement and aided work to connect, empower, and educate youth communities.

There are really just so many great examples for this topic.  If you are looking for more examples about social media and communications technologies applied to youth empowerment, here are some additional links/groups to check out:

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July 30, 2009

California’s Secretary of State: Come and collaborate!

Debra Bowen

JD LasicaSpent Wednesday night at SocialVoter, a special event featuring California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and presented by CitizenSpace and the Social Media Club. You can follow the tweets on Twitter — for the next two weeks, anyway, when they disappear. So I thought a blog recap would be in order.

Here, too, is a Flickr photo set of the gathering.

For readers who don’t know Debra Bowen, she’s one of the most forward-looking public officials in the land, with a presence on Twitter (@DBowen) and Facebook and, more importantly, a commitment to bringing the public into public policy discussions.

The conversation between Bowen and the 35 participants in the room was free-flowing and wide-ranging, with suggestions about how to provide voters with critical information about candidates and ballot initiatives, how to crowdsource ballot explanations, how to increase transparency in the election process, et al.

Instant runoffs and crowdsourcing ballot arguments

Some highlights:

• Debra Bowen: “The most important resource we have in the Secretary of State’s Office is that I’m there and I want to make this happen. I want people to tell me about how they think this should work. … That’s your job, to figure out where this might go” and to help her and her staff work in a highly collaborative way. “What if people actually worked at the front of the policy chain instead of reacting to it?”

Echoes of President Obama’s call for bottom-up civic participation.

• One practical reason Bowen is looking to democratize some of the work that might traditionally fall to her office: The Secretary of State’s office has 470 employees. 80% of them are doing corporate and business filings and document processing. The elections staff has fewer than 30 employees. The voter education “staff” consists of one full-time and two part-time workers.

• I’ve long been among those who support a system of “instant runoff voting,” which San Francisco has done in the past and Alameda County and other districts are now seriously considering.

In an instant runoff, voters get to vote for not just their favorite candidate but their second and third choices, allowing citizens to vote for their preferred candidate rather than the lesser of two evils. If your candidate finishes out of the running, your vote goes to your second choice, allowing races with multiple candidates to be decided instantly without a runoff. Brilliant.

Said Bowen: “One of the conditions will be a voter education program so we don’t lose a big chunk of voters for an election or two while they figure out how it works.”

• For decades, California voters have been presented with two sides of every ballot proposition, pro and con. “East of the Mississippi, no one does this,” Bowen said. They’re either flummoxed or amazed. But some states are looking to California to emulate the practice.

Meantime, Bowen is taking the pro and con idea one step further. What if we crowdsourced the ballot arguments? she asked us. How would that look? Who polices it? How could people contribute, and should the arguments be limited to just two?

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July 30, 2009

Open source’s growing influence

Guest post by Renee Blodgett
CEO, Magic Sauce Media

At this week’s AlwaysOn Stanford Summit, the open source video company Kaltura organized and participated in a SaaS Goes Open Source panel (SaaS as in Software as a Service).

In this video interview, Kaltura CEO Ron Yekutiel says open source is disruptive but on the rise, and it tears down those garden walls, giving corporations better control, flexibility and better integration. SpikeSource, Zimbra, Acquia, Fenwick & West and Alfresco were the other companies joining Ron on the panel.

Renee Blodgett is the CEO of Magic Sauce Media, a strategic communications, social media and branding consultancy. This post originally appeared at Renee’s Down the Avenue and is republished with permission.
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July 23, 2009

Clay Shirky: How social media can make history

JD LasicaHere’s my friend, NYU prof Clay Shirky, giving a 15-minute TED talk on how social media is changing our media and cultural landscape.

Specifically, Clay focuses on how the amateurization of media through Twitter, Facebook and text messaging helps citizens in repressive regimes to report on what’s happening, bypassing censors unless the government shuts off the Internet spigot entirely. The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics and ending the era of government control.

July 21, 2009

A mobile database that brings it all together

kiwanjaTwo years or so ago during my time at Stanford University, I was carrying out research on the impact of mobile phones around the world for a conference. I was after specific articles, reports and projects — but it was spread all over the place. I spent so much time I wondered why a ‘one-stop,’ searchable resource didn’t exist.

Several weeks and a couple of volunteers later we launched the kiwanja Mobile Database, the first attempt of its kind to bring some of this information together. Volunteers have helped maintain it since, and it remains the only resource of its kind.

kiwanja's Mobile Database

Today the Mobile Database holds information on the social and environmental impact of mobile technology around the world, and is searchable by article, report or project, and by category, country or keyword.

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