Please help me write and teach about microblogging (esp. Twitter)

Last summer, the good folks at webcontent.gov invited me to write up some info about microblogging.

Since I’d recently started using Twitter, I was able to write some, and a few other folks we knew added info about other services. I then made some changes in December.

However, since I don’t look at the page regularly, it’s inevitably gone stale.

At the same time, I signed on to help organize Government 2.0 Camp. At this morning’s planning meeting, I committed to producing a few webinars to help attendees learn some basic social media tools before the camp itself. One thing I know I need to cover is Twitter.

Also meanwhile, my colleagues on the Social Media Subcouncil have been working hard to produce a public wiki to start pulling together case studies, canned presentations, intro pieces, etc. So they taught me about pbwiki.com as one place to create free wikis.

Putting all that together, I’ve decided to use pbwiki to help me keep the microblogging piece updated, create an outline for the Twitter webinar, and teach me the value of a wiki.

As of right now, my effort is independent of the Social Media Subcouncil wiki, but it’ll probably be absorbed. I’m not doing it quite yet because we’re not quite ready to go public with the Subcouncil’s wiki, but I’m eager to start learning. And it’s Sunday, so it’s not fair to expect them to respond.

But by the end of the week, it may all be put together.

Meanwhile, I’d really appreciate your help with:

1) Updating the microblogging piece. Remember the primary audience is government, so make the examples relevant to that audience.
2) Laying out the outline for the 1-hour webinar.


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Good stuff. I threw in a paragraph. It’s tough to edit a wiki when the writing is well-written around it (that’s your fault Jeff for being smart)

The founder of PBWiki also runs this fabulous blog – iwillteachyoutoberich.com (it’s not some scam thing) and he’s a really cool (shameless note – we talked and he featured me on his blog 4 years ago)

Katie Hood

Although I am not experienced in Twitter enough to teach anyone anything…as a Twitter beginner – what you have so far is terrific. The “why’s you’ve listed encouraged me to keep at it… I might suggest adding a few more examples of the shortened language…maybe make examples of text messages…”RU There?” “BFFF”…it might add some humor and make people less intimidated. I like how you’ve opened this up for ideas. Thanks – looking forward to seeing the final outcome.

Jeffrey Levy

Katie, what’s BFFF? I know BFF, but not BFFF.

Steve: sorry, buddy. But I’m sure you can top what I’ve written.

Adriel: it seemed it was about time for me to learn about wikis. 😉

Andrew Krzmarzick

Hey Jeffrey – It sounds like you may expand what you’re doing with Twitter to cover other tools. I’ve been delivering a webinar/in-person workshop that’s essentially a Gov 2.0 101 – it asks three questions (1. What is it? 2. What agencies are using it? and 3. How do I set it up in 5 minutes or less) for each of the following tools: blogs (Blogger and WordPress mostly), wikis (PBWiki and WetPaint), podcasts (using GCast, Audacity and/or Talkshoe), RSS ( Feedburner), video (YouTube and Vimeo), social virtual networks (Facebook, Ning, MySpace, Twitter, etc.), social bookmarking (too many to name), and more…let me know how I can help as you are building out other 101 resources.

Jeffrey Levy

Andrew: thanks for the offer. Yes, we’re going to do a series of webinars.

I want to point out, though, that you may inadvertently be getting people in trouble. None of those free tools is allowable by default because of terms of service, procurement, ethics, and other legal issues.

The terms of service issue can only be addressed through specific special terms for gov’t. There will be such terms for many sites, but not all.

There are also communications and web governance issues. We really don’t want every gov’t employee running out and setting up a blog on wordpress.com. Feedburner raises issues about persistent cookies.


So it’s a careful dance of education and restraint, at least as of now.

There really are reasons why gov’t hasn’t done more so far. Have you seen the barriers/solutions paper from the Federal Web Managers Council? http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/about/documents.shtml#barriers

Jeffrey Levy

Andrew: I should’ve added “all of these issues are surmountable, but we have to put the time in.” Also, I should’ve been clearer: I’m not sure it’d be a problem for every gov’t employee to have a blog. That’s a policy call. I just don’t want them setting up accounts on private sector sites where they’ll get in trouble with policies they don’t know (and really have no reason to know).

Katie Hood

Jeff – BFFF-sorry about that – you know what I meant. 🙂 Just one more thought – I was in the Potomac Forum workshop you presented to. The resources and links you provided helped me alot. As far as people setting up their own WordPress Blogs – pointing them to spots such as Govloop might help. Tell them once they hit “God” status, they can consider establishing their own blog. If they truly want to engage – a site like Govloop is more effective than producing your own blog. Good luck!