Chris M. Lindsey

Dad. Assistant City Manager. Surviving.

Category: Social Media Page 2 of 5

The Effects of Social Networking on Revolutions

Fareed Zakaria:

But clearly today’s information technology has the effect of disintermediating. It breaks down hierarchies. It breaks down monopolies. That’s got to be good for the individual, and it must be bad for dictatorships.

Code for America 2012 Fellowships Open

“What if we could help your city work better, just by using your smartphone?”

-Biz Stone, Twitter Co-Founder

“What if city hall spoke with citizens the way citizens speak with each other?”

-Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Co-Founder

Code for America is announcing their call for 2012 Fellows.  The Code for America Fellowship Program connects web developers and entrepreneurs with communities and cities in need. They strive to make government more open, efficient, and responsive, through the use of new technologies. And all the while, they provide leadership training and career support.

You can find out more about Code for America here. And you can apply for the Fellowship Program here.

MPs Don’t Like Twitter

“I am sure no honourable member will be tweeting from the chamber to let the outside world know what is going on.”

I am incredibly sad to hear any public servant speak these words, much less a member of the House of Commons.

“Twitter Beta-Tested a Spine”

Twitter beta-tested a spine (a look from Wired on the chilling subpoenas sent to Twitter).

Chilling

Chilling (and view the pdf).

The Daily Show on Facebook Investment

The Daily Show has a hilarious segment on the recent investments in Facebook, and the irony that Facebook doesn’t want to be transparent.

Twitter Helps Cory Booker Dig Out His Residents

I am a little late on this, but I wanted to point out a great public interest/public administration/politics piece.

During the most recent snow storm on the East Coast, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey, patrolled the streets using Twitter to direct snow plows and city workers, and even shoveled out residents and cars himself.  The Twitter Blog has a great piece on Booker’s heroic efforts and it links to stories at several major news outlets.

You can follow Mayor Booker (@CoryBooker) on Twitter yourself.

These are the accomplishments we public servants can achieve with the help of social networking and social media.  These are the types of things I want to do in public service, and services like Facebook and Twitter can help us all improve our communities.

Beyond Diaspora

I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one disappointed in Diaspora.  Read this article from Blogoscoped, Beyond Diaspora: Another Facebook Alternative has a Head Start.

While I have already deployed Status.net (it’s an open, distributed alternative to Twitter, and mine is here), it doesn’t allow for much social functionality, especially for the single user.  And GNU Social, what the article is really about, isn’t widely developed (look at the email lists, there are very, very few posts).  I would think the GNU/FOSS community could put some more substantial effort behind creating an open alternative to Facebook.

As I said up front, I’m disappointed in Diaspora (the open alternative to Facebook that got a lot of attention this summer).  Diaspora runs on Ruby, which is great if you like Macs (it’s built in to the operating system), but Ruby runs poorly on Linux servers (which host the majority of the internet’s sites).  The entire package is difficult to install on Linux, but the real issue is Ruby.  Ruby is notoriously slow, and a lot of people are reporting that the app slows to a crawl when two people are accessing it.

I’m disappointed in Diaspora because they didn’t make Diaspora to work with common server technologies like PHP and MySQL.  Therefore, the installation base is a lot smaller, and those that want to install it are in for a day-long treat typically.

More on Social Media and Boulder Wildfire

Here are some more good links discussing the impacts of social media during the Boulder wildfire:

Denver Post – Evacuees use social media to keep up on Boulder wildfire disaster developments

The Huffington Post – Boulder Fire Stokes Community Through Social Media

iDisaster 2.0 – Social Media are being used in response to Colorado Wildfires

Websites Coordinating Response to Wildfire

There is currently a major wildfire burning in Boulder, Colorado (northeast of Denver).  More than 3,000 homes have been evacuated, and, according to that same Denver Post:

Emergency reverse 911 systems are not working properly and residents are expected to evacuate before they get an alert.

So how are people getting information about this fire?

Folks are getting up to the minute information (and more information about localized evacuations) through Twitter and Facebook.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management maintains an excellent website with an updated Emergency Status page (and runs on Joomla!).  The Status page has been heavily updated throughout the day.

But the Boulder Office of Emergency Management also maintains a Twitter account and a Facebook page.  Both are continuously updated, and their updates are making the rounds on both social networks.

I’ve long said that small cities and counties can use social networking tools instead of licensing expensive texting software to notify citizens of emergencies (outside of reverse 911 systems, that is).  And even in this situation, when reverse 911 systems aren’t working, it is useful for all to have a backup that is easy to post to (text messages for Twitter and Facebook).

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