Gone But Not Forgotten

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

My table presentation was so dull even I had to leave ...

NOTE: This is content from the web re:Brand posts going back to November 2010. We have kept the re:Brand posts as a legacy archive but, on a go forward basis as of October, 2011, the new DATA eh? content takes over this space.

I'm surprised to find no blog action from the GovCamp of last week. Doubly surprised in a way, since my table topic was "entering the blogosphere".

I wondered from the planing outset whether there would be any uptake on this topic at a camp revolving largely around opening up data?  Event organizers suggested it as a possible topic to our toronto.ca/open team and I thought it worth a shot - not only to add variety to the event topics but because I'm blogging and I wanted to find others doing the same. I can say categorically post event: "there isn't any uptake".

I think the main reason is the live conversation is still largely around getting data released (and all that means and/or implies) as opposed to talking about blogging about it. At least this is true from the government inside perspective.  It was still a bit of a shock though - out of all the government employees in attendance on this night - that no one stopped by the table to say they were blogging. There are lots of examples of the engaged community blogging of course but I can't find a gov employee blog per se. I'm not certain that makes me exclusive but chances are good if I gave a "gov employee blogging party" few people would come.

I'm basing this after the event and in doing searches for blogs.  Nada results - though I could be missing pages that are topic centred and not tagged as government. Whatever, it's certainly lean pickings. Makes me wonder if we in the government area are talking adopting social media more than actually doing it.

I know here at the City, we are struggling with privacy issues (read this section of our privacy post to observe some of the issues around privacy convergence). It isn't exactly easy to enter the mainstream of the blogosphere mainly because we have to concern ourselves with things like why we might ask for your name or e-mail.

If I'm blogging here as Keith - non City of Toronto Keith that is - I can ask for whatever I want and if you cough it up, well it's neither here or there (a simplification but more or less true). However as TOwebRebrand I am obligated to follow things like MFIPPA (I'm not even going to tell you what that stands for but you can read a lot more about our obligations here.)

That's one aspect I wanted to talk about with other government bloggers. Have to wait until another time perhaps but I'm putting it out there we should definitely get in touch with each other.  So hey, PLEASE, if you are a government employee blogging for your job and within the sound of this post- let me know. Maybe we can hang out a bit and talk.

My next post will comment specifically about the GovCamp event.  I left my own table after round 1 sessions to do some participating of my own.

Btw, I do want to thank Jenna Hoffman (blogging for Microsoft) for dropping by (as did event organizer Julia Stowell).

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Michael Cayley said...

Sorry to take some time to get this post up:


Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

Great thoughts Michael thank you for the link - here it is as active: http://bit.ly/db595E.

Jonathan Studiman said...

Hey Keith, David Eaves has links to a couple blogs from Federal civil servants here: http://eaves.ca/banned-blogs/

Not official blogs, but many useful observations on pushing change & social media.

I thought govcamp was really inspiring, my first change camp! Will be writing up my own impressions soon.

Patrick Connolly said...

Hey Keith,

Missed this post before, but it got me thinking about something Macon Phillips got into during his Q&A at the Gov 2.0 conference:

"When I look at the Web site I think about traffic and I think about the need for more. But it's not so much the need for more public traffic -- although that would be nice -- it's the needs for more traffic from inside the building. There’s an expression in the [IT] field about "eating your own dog food." The more we can make our online new media program, not just our website, more relevant to the people I work work with every day, the better we're going to be -- the more authentic our program's going to be. And ultimately the more transparency we're going to bring, when as the New Media branch, we can make a better connection between the public and the people in the building."

All in all, it's an awesome video which seems to discuss loads of things the city's probably dealing with:

Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

@Patrick interesting clip - I think the reference to security at the end of the clip is quite an issue (as indicated in the post just after this one) Certainly the privacy issue has lots of legs left in the debate about open and transparency. I'm beginning to feel that the community is a bit head in the sand on this part. It is a barrier and in some cases an excuse but it is always an issue and both community and stewards of the data need to fully understand what it means to the process of "open" or "transparency" in gov.

That being said I'm not sure I can agree with the idea of going for more traffic "inside the building" - in our context specifically, we seem to have taken that to an extreme where we parcel content in ways our divisions understand but may not be a help outside users - in other words, we listen too much to the inside the City staff user.

We get a lot of notes on "not being able to find" the information users are trying to find. One of the reasons for that is we put it in some pretty strange places! I think we can overcome some of that from a rebranding but, in the end, unless we open a gateway for outside users to constantly tell us how we are doing, we'll fall back into a comfort zone. I'm not sure Macon Phillips was thinking about inside/outside in this context - mostly a social media context I gather - but it seems to me we may want to save most of the dog food for the people outside of toronto.ca content providers.