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TransparencyCamp: 97 Tweets from 100 Pages of History

I couldn’t make it to TransparencyCamp, but it sounded fabulous. I did wade through 100 pages of Twitter Search history (as much as it keeps). Here’s what I came up with, for what it’s worth. Unlike my other summaries, while this is in chronological order, more or less, the fact that there were a lot of simultaneous sessions, makes this less a session summary and more a lot of great points to ponder and resources to check out. You can find more material from TransparencyCamp at: https://barcamp.pbwiki.com/TransparencyCamp

If any of you made it there, what did you think? What were your big takeaways?

judell: George Thomas, chief architect of recovery.gov, explained how syndication and linked data are first principles. Outstanding.
epastore: Everybody here #tcamp09 wants Metagovernment.org; but it’s so far beyond most persons’ experience that it’s a hard sell.
Colarusso: “Boomers value well crafted message, Gen Xers value message with perspective, Millennials look to peers”
planetrussell: Use of plain,standard English considered an *innovation* by the U.S. Govt in developing web user experiences.
scienceprogress: Should the gov’t build a user testing lab to verify that gov’t websites are effective for the intended user?
cheeky_geeky: I think that “experimentation” implies more vision and responsibility than “see what sticks to the wall.”
lovisatalk: We explore, experiment, educate and prove concepts before diving in. Take educated and mitigated risks.
justgrimes: elephant in room, are government policies and regulation holding back personalized web services for citizens
sliqviq: Enterprise 2.0 applications and functions to start the movement internally before going externally with web 2.0 and social media
annbass: seems like there’d be a good connection between #tcamp09 and W3C eGov Initiative: http://tinyurl.com/6oh8ow
luigimontanez: The technical barriers blocking better government are so massive that it blows my mind. But brave souls are trying to overcome.
jedmiller: Crowdsourcing, a process, not a tool, and with a goal (at least in Surowiecki). Does change.gov have goal? what’s “spam-sourcing?”
tones: @jedmiller “Spam-sourcing” is my neologism for the current (broken) way citizens influence legislators: by spamming their inboxes
corbett3000: Looks like http://www.tsa.gov/blog/ gets more comments per post on average than @techcrunch
mixtmedia: Didn’t make it to the Community Management: Drinking from a Fire Hose session? Some of my reflections: http://tinyurl.com/d52n5z
andersonatlarge: For gov folks, no such thing as a social media strategy. There’s a mission strategy to which you apply social media tools.
justgrimes: Wow data visualization session got a little tense when talking about usability and high interface learning curve
chrismessina: Must read: Barriers and Solutions to Implementing Social Media in Government (PDF): http://tr.im/barriers
joeflood: There are no common IT requirements for all of gov
chrismessina: DOD guy says “The short answer to the Paperwork Reduction Act is to use OpenID”. Huzzah!
tweetcongress: Barriers and Solutions to Implementing Social Media in Government (PDF): http://tr.im/barriers
DavidStephenson: #tcamp09 just uploaded my “Transparency Plus” preso… http://tinyurl.com/cwavsh
timoreilly: Andy Oram raises some of the key questions on citizen participation in government. A great framework. http://bit.ly/fn6rs
corbett3000: 22 Blog Posts about #tcamp09 tagged just for you! http://tinyurl.com/ccmh5u
sliqviq: Important drivers in Federal Websites include Recommending information, Returning to site, or Good Source of information
mixtmedia: we’ve thought about IT & Web content mgmt as 2 halves of a whole. now w/distributed web, isn’t community mgmt another 1/3?
lovisatalk: There is a culture clash btw traditional IT and websites/SM. Need to educate and build more partnerships
jknauer: Yesterday at #tcamp09 I said we need the digital equivalent of the public library system for open data. Details: http://bit.ly/59pKQ
mixtmedia: 1of2 @rmowery thx rob. I think that it’s going to have to move from destination website focus to community & collaboration focus.
mixtmedia: 2of2 @rmowrey it’s 1 thing 2 centralize web activities in 1.0 destination world. no longer valid org model in 2.0 distributed wrld
sgourley: @valdiskrebs Little Sis is an “involuntary Facebook” of Elites! People and relationships that do not necessarily want to be mapped.
mixtmedia: need RAW (not aggregate) data to truly capitalize on the value of open data
justgrimes: here is the amazon link to @davidstephenson and kundra’s upcoming book on “democratizing data” http://tinyurl.com/ava8pe
brianbehlendorf: Hill staffers just shown version tracking at http://opencongress.org and http://govtrack.us this past Friday; “blew their minds”
justgrimes: scraping data is bad, gov should focus on just clean open data; read more @jerrybrito ‘s paper (http://tinyurl.com/cyuex9)
justgrimes: another article on government and open data, robinson’s gov data & invisible hand; its a good read http://tinyurl.com/c24noy
justgrimes: For those still interested in open gov data…one more thing, 8 principles of open government data http://tinyurl.com/5zqaos
nickgrossman: Your Own Democracy is one of the most interesting projects I’ve seen here at #tcamp09. Quantifying Civic Engagement http://bit.ly/12HrR1
DruidSmith: @ajturner open data is part of it – how about informed discovery and appropriate use e.g. facilitated by metadata?
justgrimes: u dont need to create incentives for sharing, humans want to share; its not about making incentives, its about remove barriers
sliqviq: Another tool, another silo? Too much information in too many different places to make sense to legislators
kpkfusion: Publication and availability of information alone does not create trust with citizens = old world thinking. Takes more.
koa: Gov’t isn’t stupid – it’s just filled with laws, regulations, and process and scared of the Washington Post – John Scott
mixtmedia: when it comes down to it, we’re all just building legacy systems
kpkfusion: @mixtmedia Thank you. This is the point. Transparency requires new systems designed to put communication first.
kpkfusion: So much of dialogue is treating transparency as management of structured communications. Citizen communication is often unstructured
lovisatalk: Need to simplify language for citizens to better understand what is happening in Govt
myrnatheminx: @ajtuner: go to where the data is, don’t create a new tool for people to use.
mixtmedia: @kpkfusion and the challenge: everything’s an interim technology. as soon as we sort of figure this out, we’ll be onto the next
kpkfusion: @heatherwest Government process – barriers = increased transactions cost = less citizen involvement = less network value to gov
kpkfusion: Ultimate goal of transparency is not to get govt data to citizens, but to get citizens intellect into gov for better results
koa: Government can’t trust one company – must trust industry.
sliqviq: A steady trickle of requests for information and change is sometimes more effective than an overwhelming blast all at once
kpkfusion: Here is a way to think about 5 categories of transparency needs: (1) Projects (2) Issues (3) Events (4) Rules (5) Legislation
coinsight: I think there is a perception that standards are well, stilted. They don’t have to be. They can unlock creativity.
Mlsif: Posted notes from “Transparency: What Have You Done for Me Lately” convo http://tinyurl.com/aqtvhh
kpkfusion: Each category of network transparency for citizens requires different means of presentation because different types of networks
ahoppin: Sounds like OMB will be responsible for defining data schema that will be applicable @ local (municipal), State, and Federal level
JohnWonderlich: the mind blowing version control shown to Congress: http://bit.ly/4hpugK
Mlsif: Breaking news: http://www.Innovation.gov will be launching soon. Part of effort to drive tech/web/collab innov across govt.
stereogab: Quote on whiteboard @ apps for dem session: “data is not political” YES!
jaydedman: OH: “Govt transparency is the antidote to citizen apathy.”
kpkfusion: The key thing is to enable citizens to interact by overcoming “social fear” that so many have. More inclusion means more POV’s
bashley: @kpkfusion Good insight on “overcoming social fear”. MOST regular people intimidated by gov formality, process, language etc
nancyscola: ‘Tis beautiful to watch advocates, technologists, and those doing the hard work of government chew over ideas and challenges.
bashley: Transparency is a weapon in party politics where destroying the witness is the main object. Transparency’s oxygen is tolerance.
kpkfusion: New world: As citizens, we are many times more likely to act on recommendation of peers than of institutions. Now possible.
kpkfusion: Example: Are citizens more likely to recycle because gov publishes scientific data; or because they share that data w each other?
bashley: Transparency a pipe dream until the old world press starts reporting, stops interrogating. Lynch mob media feed opacity
justgrimes: I completely agree with @JohnWonderlich ‘s thoughts of the article government data and the invisible hand http://bit.ly/vUhLp
justgrimes: One thing I’ve learned during transparency camp is the policy problems with procurement, it comes up almost everything session
paulhyland: Semantic Web Pt. 2 – SPARQL, a query language for RDF, modeled loosely on SQL
myrnatheminx: Harvards Transparency Policy Project: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/taubmancenter/transparency/index.htm
justgrimes: Transparency is highly contextual, its has to have high usability, etc if people dont understand its not really transparent
normative: @JonHenke Raw data isn’t useful without analytic expertise. Try figuring out what any moderately complex statute actually does.
paulhyland: Semantic Web visualizations – Many Eyes from IBM http://many-eyes.com – cool mapping visualization from http://GovTrack.us
myrnatheminx: any discussion of transparency works between opposite intents–lobbyists and others dont want transparency, citizens do.
jedmiller: @jonhenke @jasonkenney @justgrimes all talking about how info isn’t enough – analysis and some how-to are needed to info==>action
bashley: “Full Disclosure: The Promise and Perils of Transparency.” http://bit.ly/6JCDD Book by Trans Prjct academic.
sliqviq: Managing identity and potential issues with government online identity vs. personal online identity. Potential OpenID solutions
justgrimes: Openthegovernment director just mentioned the idea of a government based volunteer tech corps and I got goosebumps
rickmurphy: advanced semantic web session, policy aware web http://www.policyawareweb.org/
lajump: State Dept asked Ning to change their TOS to meet reqs; Ning said “You guys don’t spend enough” to cover legal/retooling costs.
tones: No moderater and almost zero attendees for the “Unregulated private data acquisition scares me” panel. This scares me.
citizencontact: Which specific gov sites provide the best format for data interoperability? My vote too: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/index.asp
timoreilly: Consultation XML: PDF to XML engine for republishing UK policy docs http://www.thedextrousweb.com/labs/consultationxml/
sharontb: Roberts rules of order for wikis from silona
Leslieann44: @williambeutler: ‘Wikipedia literacy is very low. For the number of people who use it, very few understand how it works.’
sharontb: Shared vision of the goal makes wikipedia collaborative not divergent.
corbett3000: Those here and not here interested in #tcamp09 are meeting online: http://groups.google.com/group/transparencycamp
heatherwest: Just led two sessions- ShowUstheData.org and privacy concerns with a Sunlight regime!
mixtmedia: Help define social media for government metrics by taking & RT this survey http://bit.ly/smgov-metrics
citizencontact: great examples of mashing/grabbing/scraping govt. data at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/XQuery
williambeutler: @JonHenke A key Wikipedia principle is quality of the edit matters, not identity of the contributor. My rec: focus on citations.
webtechman: 10 Essential Tips for Successful Social Media Launch http://tinyurl.com/ckbyb5
EllnMllr: Nice blog item on TransparencyCamp here http://bit.ly/14ZwNN
bashley: Commenting on http://bit.ly/T27JH The Crowd Says It All. Nice summary of #tcamp09 tweets. Congrats to all involved!

Thanks to everyone who went and tweeted (esp. those using the #tcamp09 tag)!

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Michael J. Russell

Great summary of a great event. Thanks for compiling it, and for RT-ing my $.02 from the User Experience session on Sat.:

@planetrussell: “Use of plain, standard English considered an *innovation* by the U.S. Govt in developing web user experiences.”

Denise Hill


Ditto, Thank you for the effort and sharing the summary. I am part of the way trough looking at the links provided with the summary. Interesting indeed.

Jeffrey Levy

My two takeaways were less specific: there are a lot of very smart ppl working on these issues, which gives me hope, and the unconference format is amazing. 9-6 never went so fast.

@planetrussell: Remember: there’s no such thing as “the” government. Many people have been pushing for plain language for a long time; ever seen plainlanguage.gov? But making it universal is hard.


Love the twitter summaries in form of a blog. I think there should be a name for it and David should be the inventor.