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Gov 2.0 Summit 2010 – A Twitter Recap

Among many new developments, last week’s Gov 2.0 Summit here in Washington, DC  served as a perfect platform with  to use our new and improved SLURP140 tool, which tracked the influence, activity, and topics discussed on Twitter throughout the duration of the the conference. This two-day seminar sponsored by O'Reilly Media brought together decision makers from the public and private sectors to discuss the notions of open government and the power of the internet in citizens' lives.
Through the use of SLURP140 (powered by ImpactWatch), The Bivings Report was able to track the hourly usage and cumulative twitter traffic of the conference. Likewise, we identified the most active users as Douglas Black (@dlblack), Alex Howard (@digiphile), the Government 2.0 Correspondent for O'Reilly Radar, and Nahum Gershon (@nahumg).

Overall, we tracked 9,064 specific tweets by 2,498 people.

Below is some of the analysis that we were able to draw from the Gov 2.0 Summit using SLURP140:

 twitter usage
If you missed the conference are interested in seeing some PowerPoint presentations from the movers and shakers in Government 2.0 arena-  Click this link to find your favorite panelists and watch them present.
From an informal survey of other event attendees, the presentations by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski “Reimagining FCC.gov for the 21st Century Consumer,”  the Sunlight Foundation Executive Director Ellen Miller’s “Open Government Scorecard” and General Keith Alexander of the National Security Agencies’ presentation on “U:.S. Cybersecurity Policy, Strategy and U.S. Cybercom,” all received high praise and a lot of twitter traffic from everyone we spoke too. 

For an overview of all the other articles written about the conference, check out the “News and Coverage” section of the Gov 2.0 summit.

To see all of the taped presentations and speeches on the Gov 2.0 Summit, check out gov2events.blip.tv or their YouTube Channel.

If you're interested in seeing pictures from the event – the Flickr gallery can be found here.

Slurp140- @Fenty2010 vs @GrayforMayor

Looking for an easy way to tell whose up / whose down and what the current buzz is surrounding Mayor Fenty and Chairman Gray’s campaign for Democratic nomination to be Mayor of Washington D.C?

As part of a broader study we are working on examining the true impact of how politicians use Twitter, we are happy to launch this latest instance of Slurp140 for anyone looking to follow the campaigns online at:

As we have just started tracking tweets referencing “@grayformayor,” “Vince Gray”, “@fenty2010” “Adrian Fenty” and “#dcmayor” the numbers you see reflected in the total number of tweets and total people are reflective of all tweets since 12:00 pm. today.

SLURP 140  DC Mayor

In looking for Twitter accounts of campaign staffers, the only account that stands out is that of veteran campaign strategist @Mo Elleithee. We will keep looking, but if you know of other senior staffers with Twitter accounts let us know!

Quick facts at a glance:

image image

Note: We are not affiliated with either campaign or Washington D.C. Board of Elections. (Nor am I related to Chairman Gray :)

The New GOP.com: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


I gave the new www.gop.com a mixed review when the RNC first re-launched the site in October 2009.  A few days ago the RNC launched a new version of their flagship site, so I figured I’d take a fresh look at it.  Overall, I think it is a nice improvement, although naturally I find a few things to pick apart.  Following is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the redesign.

The Good

(1) The use of space on the homepage for top stories/headlines is much more logical and cleaner than the previous site.  I particularly like that they removed the giant Facebook fan box that took up way, way too much real estate for a questionable payoff in the old design.

(2) Under the prior navigation structure, there were an overwhelming number of drop down options, which I suspect lead visitors to be confused as to where to go.  The options now are much clearer, and I like the use of primary and secondary navigation elements.

(3) In the previous iteration, users had to click a button in order to sign up for email alerts.  I wrote at the time:

“The main call for users to sign up for email updates is hidden behind a click.  While I appreciate this as a user who is already on their list, as someone who builds sites for a living I would never want a user to have to click more than once to give me their email.  I’m a firmly believer in making the sign up process as simple as possible.”

This has been fixed and you can now sign up without a click.

(4) I like the little take action option that appears on the left side of the page, mostly because it is different.  I do vaguely worry that it is a little too cute and that some users will simply not see it.


(5) I like the idea of having a list of Trending headlines on the homepage.  However, I wonder if these items are handpicked or chosen based on an algorithm given the content featured (links to YouTube videos, external sites, etc.). 

(6) The Volunteer Match tool looks really interesting.  Curious as to whether it works.

The Bad

(1) The Issues section needlessly uses Flash – I presume in a misguided effort to mimic iTunes Coverflow.  It is really clunky, and I think a more traditional presentation would have been much more effective and helped with SEO.  They over though that section. 

(2) The Blog section is also a little too cute.  The RNC has nine different blogs, and in an effort to highlight all of them they developed a layout that is a bit overwhelming.  I think they would be better served aggregating the latest entries and presenting them in a format that actually looks like a blog (basically one blog stream).  A presentation like GigaOm would have been much more effective.  As it is now everything is too compartmentalized.

(3) The RNC’s social network, Our GOP, continues to strike me as not very user friendly and not up the standards of the rest of the site design wise.  It also doesn’t look to have gotten great traction, with around 10,800 users according to this page

(4) It has been almost a year since the launch of the original site, and the design didn’t change much until today.  I think the RNC should be iterating and improving constantly instead of holding back from these big release once a year.

The Ugly

(1) The new site allows you to change the background color from red to anything you want using a color picker.  This allowed me to change the background to a sort of fushia/purple and add a pattern.  The result of my artistic expression is below.


This strikes me as silly.  It is the sort of thing that seemed cool back in 2002.   Plus it isn’t implemented very well.  If you change your color, the original color will flash briefly every time you navigate to a new page.

More importantly, if I’m the RNC I’d want to control my brand and present the site as the designers intended.  Team Obama certainly wouldn’t have let me change www.barackobama.com to fuschia.

Gowalla and Political Campaigns: A Progressive Social Media Step from Both Sides of the Aisle

In the past few days, political media outlets have been abuzz with the news that Gowalla, a location based social networking service, has teamed up with politicians to create politically-themed stamps. Subsequently, Gowalla users are now able to see when politicians check-in at political rallies, fundraising dinners, and town hall meetings. With midterm elections just around the corner, this move aims to make candidates more accessible to their tech-savvy constituency.

 The new move to use GPS-centered online networking is innovative – with less than 10% of smartphone users using applications such as Gowalla and Foursquare. Politicans home to utilize Gowalla as a way to connect with voters while allowing the social network’s users to collect limited-edition campaign-themed  stamps for their virtual passports. Likewise, this continue integrating and connecting with other forms of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. 

Many experts are saying that these forays into social media may portend a greater amount of user interaction during the 2012 presidential campaign season. But with only three months left until the next midterm elections, only time will tell how social media will continue to be used by political candidates.




A Recap of NDN's Panel on Advancing Internet Freedom

On Tuesday July 20th 2010, NDN hosted a speaker panel titled Advancing Internet Freedom: Tackling Barriers to the Global Free Flow of Information. This event featured Daniel Calingaert and Anita Ramasastry two prominent authorities on the topic of internet censorship and the power of online freedom of speech. During their presentations, both presenters discussed topics ranging from mobile economic opportunities abroad to further US government regulation of internet content.

The NDN forum touched heavily upon the groundwork laid by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s January 2010 speech on internet freedom that was lauded as the first of its kind for a foreign policy decision maker.   Clinton spoke about issues of international censorship over the press and individual media publishers, and warned about the “new information curtain” that is cutting off information to developing nations with totalitarian governments.

Both speakers at the “Advancing Internet Freedom” event discussed the role of domestic and foreign government in regulation and expansion of internet services – particularly as they relate to ordinary citizens.  Echoing Secretary Clinton’s remark that “the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it,” Anita Ramasastry discussed the importance advocating for oppressed peoples through greater access to technology and information.  Subsequently, Daniel Calingaert spoke about the rights of citizens and the importance of not accepting censorship in the name of political stability. Both speakers stressed the empowerment of citizens though the creation and sharing of content on social media and internet websites.