Tuesday, October 29, 2013

blog post #3

Hi All - 

I came across this short article and thought it was very interesting to share and possibly talk about in class sometime. An "anonymous" interview gone public.... if you haven't heard about it, Michael Hayden was caught giving an anonymous interview on the Amtrak Train to NY - simply put, he was overheard and exposed on Twitter. He spoke about Obama's cell phone - the blackberry, and criticized the Obama Administration.  

So how does the government protect itself from "idiots" like Michael Hayden? 
How does the government account for all of the huge egos it employs? 

I think that when a government official has the ability to do something shady like this, it is a good indicator of their own personal values and morals. These are our decision makers, so how do these instances translate when it comes to policy making and national security? In a way this is a good example of how the rise of social media is making our government more transparent. 

"We now live in a world where we are probably more likely to be captured by someone using social media than to be caught by a surveillance camera."   Strangers on a Train

Monday, October 28, 2013

Importance of readings available on the SU blackboard

Importance of readings available on the SU blackboard
I am a student in Maxwell school and studying the public administration. In the beginning, I was not so sincere to read the different content available on the blackboard. But, after couple of class, I cultivated the habits of reading the materials uploaded by the respective professor and found extremely valuable resources to learn many subjects from one source, which we cannot learn in this short span of time.
Today I would like to share the same repetitive experiences with afresh zeal and enthusiasm. I read the article, “The Wiki and the Blog- Toward a complex adaptive intelligence community ” written by D. Calvin Andrus, Ph.D., Office of application services, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington DC as a part of my subject of social media in Government.
This reading has provided the in depth information and make me aware about the usefulness of Wikis and Blogs being social media tools in Government organization. The author has suggested using it in the intelligence as well as defense system. This is again an eye opener example for me being a leader of the Government organization and Non Government organization. The way he mentioned about the development, growth and utility of Wikis and Blogs while inter-linking the tools are worth to be read.
He cited the work done by the Lipnak and Stamps (1997) about the pre conditions to attain the success in the use virtual community, i.e. critical mass, trust, content and purpose that is worth to read. The principle of self-organization, information sharing, feedback, tradecraft and leadership are also very useful in the context of implementation of strategic use of social media in all types of Government organization.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

While reading 'The wiki and the Blog' by D. Calvin Andrus, I felt it heartening to note that the total '
intelligence-decision-implementation' cycle time can be as short as 15 minutes. This swiftness is
more relevant when national security is best protected if the nation operates more quickly than
those who would do harm to the nation. This swiftness is also essential in this era when the
circumstances to which we respond develop more quickly. I also found it interesting that the only
way to meet the continuously unpredictable challenges ahead of us is to match them with
continuously unpredictable changes of our own.

It sounds somewhat funny while Shannon showing how to transmit correct messages in noisy
channels holds that the noise in the channel is information in and of itself and thus can be used to
transmit messages. Shannon further holds that there is meaning in the noise.

As a part of the reading, Adam Smith's description of how individuals in pursuing their economic self
interest create a market for goods and services is also very interesting. It is noteworthy that this
market has an invisible hand that decides which goods and services survive over time and which do
not. It is 'invisible' in the sense that no individual or group of individuals decides what the market
should produce or consume. It just 'happens' of the aggregated actions of large number of individuals.
The individuals are only trying to make their own lives better. Out of their collective and self
organized behavior, market behavior emerges.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The important elements of the USA social media guideline.

The important elements of the USA social media guideline.
I am submitting this blog with a view to share the summary of the guideline posted by the USA government with my colleagues in the class. The important and beautiful elements I found in the guideline are follows.
The guidelines make the following assumptions about the user employee, as a representative of USA government.
• You want to improve people’s lives by making government information easy to find, access, and use.
• You can write in plain language.
• You are familiar with our social media channels (currently Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr) and understand the basic differences between them.
• You know you can always talk to your supervisor or the officially nominated person.
Guiding Principle
USA government wants to help people to find, understand, and benefit from government information. Everything they do is motivated by this principle.  “People” means anyone who is looking to “the government” for guidance, news, emergency information, and help accomplishing government tasks.
You cannot assume they know which agency, program, or level of government can help them. It is our job to help them find their way.  
Content is what we talk about. It refers to the topics of our messages, the words we write in our messages, and the links we recommend to our audience.
Our content should be:
• Useful, relevant, and/or interesting
• Easy to understand
• Unbiased
• Portable
• Lightweight
Respect our audience’s valuable time and attention and seek to share content that is some variation of useful, relevant, and interesting.
When sharing content, ask yourself: Is this something that…
• Someone can apply to improve their lives right now?
• will help someone make a better decision?
• You would share with your own friends and family?
• Is relevant to a wide audience?
Another good way to tell if you’re sharing good content is if you’re learning things and having fun!
Easy to understand
The content we share is only helpful if people can understand it. Look for sources that communicate information directly, clearly, and rapidly. Focus on clear content about complicated topics such as scientific research and health issues.
Some government policies and programs are controversial, but you need to be as unbiased as possible. Check with someone else if you think the content you’re sharing might be biased or too controversial—particularly content about politically sensitive topics.
Write messages that make sense in any context—this makes our content portable, shareable, and helpful to any one no matter where they encounter it.
Be mindful of people using mobile devices or with slow Internet connections. In general, link only to HTML-based pages. Avoid sharing flash-heavy sites and linking directly to PDFs, audio, or video files. For instance, you can link to a video page on YouTube, because the page is based on HTML and users have the option to play the video or not. On the other hand, linking directly to a large video file creates a poor user experience. If you have to link directly to something other than HTML, warn users by putting the file.
 A note on “official” content:
We need to preserve our brand’s reputation as a source of official government information. Everything we post should be based on official government information. As needed, it’s ok to occasionally share links to unofficial content as long as it is clearly based on official government information and meets the above guidelines. Check with someone when sharing unofficial content.
If content refers to what we say, then voice refers to how we say it. Our voice should communicate our desire to help people and is defined by our word choice, tone, punctuation and anything else that influences the personality and style of our messages. Our voice must be clear. Write in plain language and use proper grammar and spelling. It’s not the end of the world if our grammar isn’t perfect (in case we need to condense things for Twitter), but we’re not doing our job if people can’t understand us.
Two things to note:
• Do not assume that our audience is familiar with any government acronyms other than FBI, CIA, IRS, or NASA.
• Avoid social media syntax and jargon. Our social media audience isn’t all social media experts, and hash tags can be confusing to people.
Remember, we represent the official web portal of the U.S. government. As long as we choose our content carefully, we can write confidently, knowing that we’re providing reliable information. If we’re talking about something important like an emergency, we should sound serious and be direct. Being official doesn’t mean we have to sound formal or use fancy words (in fact, we shouldn’t), but we should avoid slang and we should never sound sarcastic. Our audience expects to be treated courteously and with respect.
Our voice should communicate that we’re a group of nice people who want to help. A few tips to sound friendly and approachable:
• Write like a human. If your writing sounds robotic, try to fix it.
• It’s ok to use exclamation points! But not all the time! And never use more than one exclamation point at once!!
• Speak to people, and not about them. Refer to our audience as “you,” not “Americans,” “citizens,” “constituents,” or “consumers.”
• Refer to our team as “We” whenever it makes sense.
Purposeful Remember, again, we represent the official web portal of the U.S. government. Our brand benefits when we use social media to do good work. Social media is fun, and we should have fun using it, but our mission to help people should always be evident.
We do not want people to visit one of our social media outlets and perceive that we’re wasting tax dollars by being silly.
If you are an admin of any of our social media accounts, you can use social media to talk with our audience, answer questions, and explain things. When engaging people on social media:
• Be direct
• Be honest
• Be real
Be direct
Most of the time, answers to people’s questions are easy—we can help them right away by writing a simple comment or by sending them a link. Apply our content guidelines when finding sources for answers.
If a question is unclear, answer the question as you understand it and invite the person to follow up if they need more help.
Be honest
Sometimes we can’t find answers to people’s questions. In these moments, remember: we can’t always help, but we can always communicate that we want to.
If we cannot answer the question (such as personal questions or very complicated questions), ask the person to contact the appropriate agency or the national contact centre. It’s ok to apologize if we can’t answer them straightaway.
Be real
Provide real answers that really help. When answering a question, ask yourself if you would find your answer helpful or satisfying. Some people use social media outlets to post rants or harass other users. Do not engage them.
Have fun, be human, have a sense of humour. It’s okay to make a mistake or not know the answer. As long as you focus is on helping people, you’re doing it right.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Since we are all working on our social media project, I think, it would be useful to all.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest speaker: Kent Aitken, Government of Canada

Our next guest speaker, Kent Aitken, provides support for the GC2.0 tools as part of his responsibilities at the Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Canada, Ottawa.

He is one of the authors of the CPSrenewal.ca blog and a contributor to the Canadian Government Executive magazine.

Mr. Aitken will speak to us about his experiences implementing and supporting the use of intra- and interorganizational social media applications, especially GCPedia.

You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

As you prepare for our class session, please think about your questions on the use of social media technologies as internal knowledge sourcing, sharing and creation tools. Leave your questions in the comment section to this blog update.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Social media –The Role changer?


When I was learning about “Role of Social Media in public sector” in my class I thought, let me get the genuine feedback from my close relatives/friends in India about-How they perceive these Social Media tools?


 I sent the following questioners to target audience:


Two of them, who enthusiastically replied, are well educated females-one independently working professional and the other one a house wife. Both are having young kids, active social life, typical family life with usual responsibilities of a home maker also.


I posed following questions to them:

1-when did you join social media site? Are you active on any such site or more than one? How many friends are linked with you through these sites?

-Share some memorable experiences/moments you got through these sites and any experience you would like to forget?

3-What is your children's reaction to you being an active user of such sites?

4-how do you evaluate this generation's approach towards such sites?
5-Do you think in India, government departments/organizations should start to connect with people through such sites?
 6-How do you manage your time to remain active on such sites?

7-With your relatives across India/world do you use social media or any other tools to keep in touch with them?
8 Does your spouse ever say “hey! It’s too much-?"
In short how does he/she take your involvement on such sites?

After going through their responses, I found following points worth sharing:


1-Having active routine life at home or at profession has not become a hurdle for them as far as their constant presence on social media is concerned. They have found their own methods of “time management “so nothing comes in between

2-The younger generation in India is positively accepting their mother’s presence on such sites; at times they are proud of it [“My mom has access to this ...you know she came to know through fb/twitter/etc...”] So young boys/girls welcome the active vigilant mothers too!

3- If you want to criticise any male [husband] in India, you just have to call him “traditional/orthodox man “it is said that Indian males are typically possessing male dominance nature inherently. Education/cultural/caste may make some difference but not that great. As if it is proving a rule, exceptions are there, but very few.


The active females I came across specified that THEY HAVE NEVER COME ACROSS THE INTERFERENCE FROM THERE HUSBANDS.I consider this to be the most important aspect as to how social media is changing concepts of gender equality in society. Someone may get tempted to make a general statement that “The cell phone and the social media are becoming tools of self-reliance and equality for female of India”-

4 Interestingly, the flavour I found from their replies about the Government’s initiation for using social media in to their day to day business, off course the indication is there that “this must be done systematically and should be consistently maintained”[which we know a tough  task for any government in the world !]

What we can derive?

Government bureaucrat living in me reminds me “This is too small a sample for survey and nothing can be derived from such piecemeal replies”

 Technically correct


=>The feeling of privacy, self reliance and ability to share independently-[what so ever any female wants], has distinct value, which is just difficult to appreciate.

=> Social media has potential to affect the traditional mindset of Indian male-a day is not far when the male will be well in following [in all aspects] their daughter/friend/sister/wife/mother.

Let us have hope: how it develops and see...
CallSend SMSAdd to Skyp 



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

LEARNING FROM THE PETA (People for the Ethical treatment to Animals) CASE

LARNING FROM THE PETA (People for the Ethical treatment to Animals) CASE
This weak our professor has sent us an excellent case of use of social media tool. This case has many learning points in the context of contribution of global civil society and in the context of social media policy of the organization.
This blog has a specific purpose of discussing the social media policy. So, I am not touching the context of contribution of global civil society in shaping the public opinion.
The spread of message through social media and web-net technology is amazing and this case provides enough evidences for that.
For the specific purpose of discussing the policy from this case, I would like to highlight certain learning points for all types of organizations. The points are follows.
  • Vulnerability of social media- All organization must bear in mind that social media is vulnerable to many kind of security threats and misuse. There is a certain need to create a system for constant watch on the social media platform.
  • Be vigilant- Every organizations need to be very vigilant about the image of organization, specifically when you are implementing the social media as promotional tool. This vigilance needs to be kept on content and quality also.
  • Be aware of the tricks and tactics used by the opponents- This is most important and relevant factor to be kept in mind. Any types of content always vulnerable to manipulation and misinterpretations. Don't give any chance to your opponents.
  • Be vigilant about the security of its own social media tools- In view of threats about the tools, organization must think about maintaining the security of its tools.
  • Be enough sensitive for immoral use of materials and practices- People at large generally don’t support the immoral use of materials and practices. Every organization should think twice about these aspects.
  • Implement the social media policy with due care and scrutiny- Due care and scrutiny is always pays to the organizations.
  • Always keep an eye on what is going on in the minds of other stakeholders and their belief- The belief system of the stake holders play a great role. Always this needs to be kept in mind
  • Learn from the other’s experiences.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Public Private Partnership
Everywhere there is a talk of public private partnership. That is a good idea, but this partnership should not be taken as a partnership in investment only. It should entail partnership in ideas also, and to have partnership in ideas, social media is perhaps the best way, easily available as well as affordable. Social media facilitates access to government and creates new possibilities for community driven initiatives. It is for the government to encourage a culture wherein the citizens come forward and share their views for development as well as for solutions to problems facing the government and the public alike. These views are important because the dignitaries formulating public policy may hardly take the views that commoners do. The policies formulated taking into consideration these views are less likely to fail, because these views combine widespread exposure to developmental issues/problems with necessary wisdom. Inputs from citizens who know the ground realities are invaluable. The governments also, like corporates, can hardly afford to go for trial and error. The more the failure ratio, less the trust of people at large in the incumbent government. Recurrence of failures proves fatal for any government. However, if people's view are taken into consideration in policy formulation through devices like social media, they would not take the failure as one on the part of government only, because they were also involved in the process. That way social media is an efficient tool from political angle also.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Guest speaker: Patrice Cloutier on social media and emergency management

On Wednesday, October 16, Patrice Cloutier will join us to share his insights on social media in emergency management situations.

Mr. Cloutier is a crisis communications specialist with extensive experience in strategic planning and crisis management. He is known for his work and is a frequent speaker on the topics.

Take a look at Mr. Cloutier's Prezi presentation on social convergence.
  • Connect to Mr. Cloutier on LinkedIn
  • Stay up to date with updates from Mr. Cloutier's blog here.
  • Follow Mr. Cloutier on Twitter
  • Follow hashtag #SMEM on Twitter to connect with the worldwide community of emergency management specialists using social media.

Please leave your questions in the comments to this blog update and prepare the readings on emergency management and social media available on Blackboard for our conversation with Mr. Cloutier.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Snapchat: The unbearable ephemeralness of digital self.

Sometimes I wonder how many of the "futurist" gadgets I saw on TV when I was a kid  became real. It's not such an irrational thought, after all (remember the giant electric submarine Captain Nemo used to travel in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea?)

I guess some of them -such as Maxwell Smart's shoe phone- were not able to expand our technological frontier, but some others surely did.

Did you ever think you were going to be able to receive a message that will self-destroy 5 seconds after you read it? Well, as it happens to be, in 2011 Stanford University students Evan Spiegel (22) and Bobby Murphy (24) decided to work on a mobile application which allows users to do exactly that without all the downsides of becoming a secret agent. This gadget is called Snapchat.

At first glance, the product launched in Appstore in September 2011 is just another mobile photo sharing application (such as Instagram or Flickr). The difference that makes this app unique and so popular lies in its ephemeralness (such a good word for Scrabble!) Using Snapchat any registered user can take a picture or video, add a caption and send it to its contacts. 1 to 10 seconds after they access to the snap, it will disappear. If the people you sent your snap doesn't open the file after 30 days, it will disappear as well. Unless, they take a screenshot.

If you haven't heard of it, it's probably because you used to watch shows such as Get Smart or Mission Impossible when you were young...er. Snapchat is very, very popular among users between 13 and 25 years old. A few months after it was launched, in June 2012, 110 million snaps had been sent through this app. Today, more than 350 million snaps are sent every day. 
The philosophy of Snapchat captures the essence of what appears to be the most valuable feature of this app:

“We believe in sharing authentic moments with friends. It’s not all about fancy vacations, sushi dinners, or beautiful sunsets. Sometimes it’s an inside joke, a silly face, or greetings from a pet fish. 
Sharing those moments should be fun. Communication is more entertaining when it’s with the people who know us best. And we know that no one is better at making us laugh than our friends. 
There is value in the ephemeral. Great conversations are magical. That’s because they are shared, enjoyed, but not saved”
Whatever it is, it is working very well. So good, that Facebook was forced to launch a very similar app called Facebook Poke without the desired results.

But not everything has been a bed of roses for Snapchat. Many voices have raised their concerns about issues related to privacy and other values such as the protection of children. In did, the fact that this app is extremely popular among young users, and the growing speculations about the convenience of this tool for safe and discrete sexting, has alerted many concerned parents.
"Combining cameras; young people; and secret, self destructing messages could only mean trouble", said Slate's blogger Farhad Manjoo.
Even when their founders are aware and open about the risk of abuse from some of their users, this doesn't seem to diminish the pace which they want to maintain for the expansion of the company.
“We are not advertising ourselves as a secure platform” Mr. Spiegel said to the New York Times. “It’s a communication platform. It’s not our job to police the world or Snapchat of jerks.”
There have also been speculations about how snaps are stored and when and how they are deleted, and even some complaints about leaks on the system that allow users to save and share the information supposedly deleted. If you pay attention, even the product description indicates that "even though Snaps are deleted from our servers after they are viewed, we cannot prevent the recipients from capturing and saving the message by taking a screenshot or using an image capture device"

I any case Snapchat is, without any doubt, becoming one of the big players in the world of social media. And whether us want to be part of it or not, if we look carefully, it can tell us very much about the means a large portion of urban young people is using to interact.

So keep calm and say cheese!

Some Social Media Tactics for Organizations

After going through the readings of experience in NASA, Department of Interior, and the American Red Cross, etc., here I come up with a list of tactics that impresses me the most:

1. Organize different accounts for different objects. According to NASA experience, it is helpful to have different social media accounts focusing on different projects if an organization has the mission to educate its audience. When every field center has a social media lead, the organization is giving little projects a voice, so that small progress will not be ignored.

2. Get audiences engaged. This is an important tactic in almost all the agencies mentioned in the readings. Social media is not just a platform for news releasing and posting content. It is more about how we reach the public directly and how they share and actually interact with our content.

3. Share things that are worth sharing. When managing the contents of a social media account for an organization, it is easy to get tired if there is only information about itself. Sharing information from sources outside the organization is also important. By taking other’s voice, the social media account can not only be made copious in content, but also looks more objective and fair.

4. Follow the local media and community. In the experience of the American Red Cross, it is necessary to monitor local media’s and communities' social media feeds. Social media cannot replace traditional media, so contacting with local media and communities can help the organization to keep up with the latest focuses of the audience, get response, and spread out information in a more effective way.

The social media tactics for Governments;

           As we see from American Red Cross experience, human recourses, time and cost can be seen main challenge for organizations. The case of American Red Cross raises several questions as; do organizations really need formal social media training for its employees? Before jumping into social media, should organizations persuade employees about why we need to social media?

           For dealing with human recourse issue, I think formal training process can create unnecessary administrative burden for governments. Instead of formal training or appointing one person for social media implementation, governments should create a team which consists of voluntary employees who already interested social media tools. Training cost can be decreased by using “learning by doing” approach as we witnessed “Wake  Country” experience  last week.

            In terms of purpose, social media  one might ask another question like what is the measure of social media accomplishment. Can number of audience be measure of social media policy achievement? Government should seek out real audiences who have profile which are compatible with governments’ mission. In order to get real audience, Governments should pick appropriate social media tools. In other words facebook or twitter should not be best option every time. Lastly for engaging of audiences, content is very important? I mean, sharing materials should be worth for sharing.  Government should list their recourses according to what we can share and what we expect from our audience with our sharing content.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hillary Clinton's speech and social media

As I was sitting, listening intently to Hillary Clinton's speech Friday at Hamilton College, I was surprised to hear her mention the use of social media! Perhaps it is just because social media in government is on my radar these days, but more than anything, it struck me that she was not mentioning social media in the context of her own political career, but rather as a catalyst and a tool for change in the larger global community. The mention came in her response to a student question about the Arab Spring and the direction that Former Secretary Of State Clinton thought the movement was going. She suggested that the Arab Spring is just beginning and similar to many other similar movements its power comes from the ground up. Essentially, Clinton conveyed in her response the idea that the ability of social media not only to disseminate ideas and information, but also to connect people could play a large part in the forward movement of the Arab Spring. I think we saw this in our own country most recently with Occupy Wall Street. People increasingly see social media as a serious tool not only for government officials or nonprofit leaders to connect with their constituencies and clients respectively, but also as a tool for activating social change. In the season of midterms, it is easy to get bogged down in studying and in the minutiae of classes. Fmr. Sec. Clinton's speech brought out the immediacy and the real-world application of what we are learning in Social Media in Governance. It was refreshing and inspiring!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Make it easy!!!!!!!!!!!!! Government can use the social media!!

I think there is lots of hue and cry about use of social media in Government organizations. The very first question come to my mind is that really we need to think this much for it? I would like to say, "No." My reasons for that are followings.
  1. Every public organization need to talk about what they do, for whom they do and what are the achievements of it.
  2. For this purposes, every organization has its own resources, employees and processes. They spend good amount of money for these purposes.
  3. The social media provides free platform and networks for the same purposes.
  4. Every organization has its policy for the conduct of its employees and it has also controlled by some kind of disciplinary regulations. To prevent any misuse of social media by the employees, the said rules can be applied to.
  5. So far as misuse by the general public is concerned, the criminal and civil acts can be applied for the same.
  6. However, in order to make general public and employee aware, a common code of ethics linked with the provisions of punitive actions can be devised and uploaded.
  7. What is more important is change management in public organizations and wish and will of the top management as it requires some strategic change and decision.
  8. The so-called data management and its implications can easily be  reduced by the available technology.
  9. The most important issue is what should be made public? Where and when it should be made?
  10. The transforming the image of organization as responsive organization through social media has been a need now a days.
I would like to invite the comments of the reader of this blog.  Let us share for the public purpose and make life more beautiful. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hi Mr. Greeve,

I am Fatma Temiz, an  EMPA student from Turkey .I hope we will learn a lot from your knowledge and expriences  in social media.  My questions:

1) What kind of training programs did you offer to your employees to participate in social media in a balanced way?

2)How does the condition of shared awareness via social media influence the implementation process ?
I am looking forward to class...


Guest speaker: Bill Greeves, CIO, Wake County

Our next guest speaker will be Bill Greeves who is currently the Chief Information Officer of Wake County, NC. Mr. Greeves will share his insights implementing social media in a local government organization, his experiences working across departments, identifying content and audiences, and success stories his organization experiences.

Bill Greeves was named as one of the most social CIOs by Government Technology Magazine and is the co-author of "Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide: Designing and Implementing Social Media Strategies and Policies".

Follow on Twitter: @bgreeves
Connect on: LinkedIn

Please add your questions for Mr. Greeves in the comment section of this blog update!