Re: [sunlightlabs] LocalLabs?

Hi Everyone,

I'm not sure how I got so lucky to be on this list.  However, I am very glad to be here.  Simply put I move ideas into practice, especially if they involve community and capacity building.  I am action oriented, like evaluation and think we need to build credibility in the public eye.  We don't have a track record for using these new mediums in ways the public understands.  I'm very interested in finding data on the implementation of social networking and media in government and the public sector in general.  I'm pretty sure the data doesn't exist yet.  If it does I would love to know about it. 

I am very interested in this idea and am particularly interested in the applied application of social media and social networking in practice.  I totally agree there is a general lack of understanding about what these new tools can do on the practical and useful side.  I'm also observing a general public vulnerability emerging, regarding these new tools.  If we "follow-the-money we will see many "so-called experts" following the money into government, foundations, non-profits, etc.  I worry about this because it happens so often.  I ask "how can so many be experts in something so new?"  I think we need to educate, create tip sheets, conduct some solid demonstration projects and write clear and simple articles.  Demonstration projects will give us concrete examples to use in talking with decision-makers. Right now it's still a mystery.  Especially on the practical side.

I've been running a group on GovLoop called Social Networking, Leadership and Innovation in the Applied Setting since last spring and a more recent blog on The Glue Project (run by a former Meet-Up Executive Doug Atkins). I also run a social network myself called in Portland. I do this because I love dogs, Portland loves dogs and as a way of exploring social networking as a community-building tool.  All three of these networks are using the Ning platform.  Doug recently asked for our Top 5 pieces of advice for using social media in communities, I think you will find it very interesting and smart.

I've found "going out" to where the people are involves finding many communities of interest.  I think people are interested in the trend (sometimes dependent on age) and many are simply overwhelmed with the 'noise' of it all, don't get it, and don't want to feel stupid.  I've been planning on running a workshop in Portland on Social Networking and Community Building sometime in Feb.  I want to "road test" the ideas, see if I can start to de-mystify these new mediums, making them more useful and less scary.  I have no idea how many people will attend.  I will also learn a lot along the way.

It's clear to me there are practical applications for social media in government.  I've been proposing using Social Networking in Grant Management.  I've deconstructed it enough to know how it will fit with the federal initiatives.  It will save us millions of dollars, increase grantee and agency communication, transparency and accountability, assist us in evaluation, geography issues, and creating best practice models, among other things.

I also think it would be useful in foundations and non-profits.  
I'm not a loner and love working with other people.


Andrea Schneider

On Dec 16, 2009, at 11:07 AM, Steven Clift wrote:

> My .org is about to launch a set of funded initiatives -
> - that in part will convene lots of people
> and constituencies interested in "local up" uses of technology for
> openness, transparency, accountability, and engagement in local
> communities. As my good friends at Sunlight have made clear to me, we
> do Congress and now Federal and some state legislature stuff, but
> _not_ local.
> I am scoping out how we will use our existing online engagement
> structures and how we will "go out" to people where they are online
> and at a number of in-person conferences. A lot of our convening will
> seek to connect technologists with the far broader open government
> community (most of whom don't understand the emerging tools or their
> potential), but on the technical side I am considering the value of a
> opening "LocalLabs" online group modeled after the Sunlightlabs@ group
> geared specifically to locally-focused programmers and likely to
> attract more folks in local government with some decent outreach on
> our part.
> Is this a good, bad, ugly idea?
> On my end, this means only creating project online groups for larger
> efforts (like our public meeting agendas effort, and something new
> called "Neighborly" that emerged from the MN Civic Hackathon) and
> being able to use and encourage others to use a generalist local to
> local tech exchange space for lots of smaller or embryonic ideas.
> For those on the Sunlightlab@ list, I'd like your thoughts here or
> privately - - because I've seen good local stuff
> emerge here from time to time, but my sense is that it is dwarfed by
> the Federal activity and that perhaps we could grow by 90% the number
> of local centric people on a good old e-list if we created such a
> space. I could be wrong. Tell me what you think.
> Thanks,
> Steve
> Steven Clift -
>  Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org
>  Follow me -
>  New Tel: +1.612.234.7072
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Received on Thursday, 17 December 2009 11:21:22 UTC