Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Content Curation

The internet is full of information and we all look at it everyday. We surf for entertainment, for research on where to eat, for the best doctor or dentist in our area, and just to see what our friends have been up to among many other uses. As we search through this information we also make comments and post terabytes of data. Content curation is all about how we find, save and share data that we like, find interesting or think that somebody else might find interesting.
When I first started researching this topic I tried to make sure that I had an open mind but I had low expectations for how these kinds of tools might be beneficial for anything other than entertainment or perhaps marketing purposes. I in fact did find that there can be a number of uses that an agency, non-profit, or firm might have for content curation tools.
I have found that for me it helps to put content curation tools into 3 categories; Aggregation tools, User Curation tools, and Bookmarking tools.
Aggregation tools are automated in some way. A user sets some sort of parameter and the tool then begins to aggregate together the sources that the user has requested. In some ways these tools act like a limited search engine. One example of how this works would be if an individual selected the twitter feeds of several news agencies that focused on science and technology and then selected the Pintrest account for the National Science Foundation (this is pure speculation because I am unsure if NSF has a Pintrest account) which the aggregation tool would then pull together, according to a regular schedule, for the individual to view  and make comment on.
For the purposes of the government the most obvious use is to highlight important topics and push them towards the public and encourage the spread of a particular topic. Some tools that fall into this category are Feedly, Google Currents, Curata, and The Tweeted Times
User Curation tools are not automatic by contrast and rely on an individual filtering and selecting relevant information on a specific topic. I found that this tool was particularly useful for saving research and sharing it with others. Sites like Pintrest, Pearltrees and Tumblr allow a user to gather information together that can range from video and picture formats to websites, documents, and tweets. The information is then saved and shared for comment and in some formats can even be edited by other users. All of these tools obviously have potential use in participatory governance. One of my favorite uses though is how Americorp is using it not only to advertise but also to sustain the community feeling of Americorp.
The last category is that of Bookmarking tools. These tools help to track a path through the webpages that people find interesting or useful and again should be based around a particular subject. My favorite tool in this group was Surfmark. I played with this one for a while and it occurred to me that this would be an excellent way to breach the walls that exist between agencies. I pictured someone doing research for their drivers license on the DMV website and being directed through an application to a saved search on school zone safety that tracked through several webpages on statistics, pictures and perhaps even the opportunity to volunteer as a crossing guard with the local school district.
The uses are only limited by the creativity of the content curators and there is the real opportunity to tap into the creativity of the general public. Content curation must be a good fit for the agency and the mission there of and not all tools are created equally. With careful consideration governments can make content curation tools into a powerful asset for reaching the public that they serve and for encouraging greater participation.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The TSA Blog: Clarification on the Screening of 3-Year-Old Girl ...

Interesting use of TSA blog to respond to rumors, accusations, and media coverage of government action:

The TSA Blog: Clarification on the Screening of 3-Year-Old Girl ...: An incident involving a girl in her wheelchair has been getting a lot of attention. I’ve been reading a lot of articles, tweets, and posts...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest speaker: Bill Greeves, CIO Wake County - Social media strategy, policy, guidance

Our next guest speaker is Bill Greeves, CIO Wake County, NC. Bill is the co-author of the social media field guide we have written last year for practitioners. He has a long career in government and has successfully guided the the implementation of new technologies in different government organizations.

Mr. Greeves was recently interviewed by Government Technology Magazine. He provided his insights to the question "Do governments need personal social media policies?"

You can follow his updated on Twitter and his personal blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

timeSpace initiative from the New York Times for entrepreneurs in the media sector


the time and space to refine and grow your business


timeSpace is a new initiative from The New York Times that brings entrepreneurs to our headquarters to refine and grow their businesses. Over four months, you and your team will work out of 620 8th Avenue, meet with relevant Times staff, demo your product and teach/learn alongside entrepreneurs and employees who make their livings in digital media, technology and journalism.


It is simple: The New York Times, and media in general, are in the midst of unprecedented change. Our core purpose remains to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. We want to push ourselves and push others to find the best ways to do so, and we believe that timeSpace can be a part of that process.


You are an early stage company focused on the media space with a product launched. You are a small team based in New York or open to working from New York for the duration of the program. You have most likely raised at least seed stage funding. You may focus on mobile, social, video, advertising technology, analytics, e-commerce or… apply and tell us why spending four months here will be mutually beneficial.
We are based in New York City, with six bureaus in the region, fourteen national news bureaus and twenty-four foreign news bureaus. We have more than 1.5 million print and digital subscribers and had 49.4 million unique visitors to NYTimes.com in December 2012. More importantly, we are journalists, developers, designers, product managers and more who are proud to work at the news organization that has won 108 Pulitzer Prizes and Citations.


Applications will be accepted until 5pm on Tuesday, February 19th. We will review applications in the order in which they are submitted and contact a limited number of companies for interviews. Between three and five companies will ultimately be invited to participate. Our first batch of entrepreneurs will join us soon after, officially launching timeSpace at 620 8th Ave.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Open Government Partnership: Webinar on Proactive Transparency

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global network of governments committed to the open government initiative. Originally launched by eight founding countries (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States) in September 2011, OGP now has over 50 dedicated members and the number keeps growing.  In order to participate, countries have to comply with eligibility requirements, submit a Letter of Intent (see Russia as an example), and develop an Action Plan that will demonstrate step-by-step how the country is planning to realize its commitment to open government (see Mexico’s Action Plan).
Open government is a new concept that the governments around the world still have to explore and experiment. OGP is a multilateral initiative that “aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.” The OGP network is designed to connect multiple stakeholders: civil society organizations, governments, and private sector participants – to create a sense of community, exchange best practices, and help countries implement open government commitments and reforms.
To encourage peer learning and knowledge sharing on critical open government issues, the OGP network conducts webinars on a series of questions related to open government. The next webinar on Proactive Transparency will be held on Tuesday February 19th at 10am EST. Participation is free. For more information on the event and registration instructions please click here.
To learn more about OGP and its goals visit the website or download OGP official brochure.