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.
Category: Social Media Page 2 of 5
“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.
I am incredibly sad to hear any public servant speak these words, much less a member of the House of Commons.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some more good links discussing the impacts of social media during the Boulder wildfire:
The Huffington Post – Boulder Fire Stokes Community Through Social Media
iDisaster 2.0 – Social Media are being used in response to Colorado Wildfires
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.
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).