Month: July 2009

Top 25 Most Fascinating Communicators in Government IT

Over the past several years, I’ve spent much of my time bringing leaders from government and the IT industry together to exchange best practices and collaborate with each other.

Being involved in these sessions gave me a unique opportunity to hear from many of the most interesting executives in DC. Some of the conversations surprised me, others intrigued me, but all of them taught me something.

Though the list of interesting speakers that I have had the pleasure to learn from could go on for days, here’s my list of the Top 25 Most Fascinating Communicators in Government IT:

(Government and Industry execs- in alphabetical order)

Anne Armstrong Anne Armstrong
1105 Government Information Group

Charlie ArmstrongCharlie Armstrong
Custom Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security

Nigel BallardNigel Ballard
Director of Federal Marketing

Teresa CarlsonTeresa Carlson
Vice President
Microsoft Federal

Aneesh ChopraAneesh Chopra
Federal CTO

Casey ColemanCasey Coleman
General Services Administration

Peter CorbettPeter Corbett

Linda CuretonLinda Cureton
NASA Goddard

Christopher DorobekChristopher Dorobek
Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief

Martha DorrisMartha Dorris
Deputy Associate Administrator
General Services Administration

Karen EvansKaren Evans
Former Administrator of e-Government
Office of Management & Budget

Gary GallowayGary Galloway
Deputy Director information Assurance
Department of State

John GaringJohn Garing

Bob GourleyBob Gourley
Crucial Point LLC

Jason KatzJason Katz
Director of Sales Strategy
Microsoft Public Sector

Dr. Robert KolodnerDr. Robert Kolodner
National Coordinator for Health IT
Health & Human Services

Mark KrzyskoMark Krzysko
Assistant Deputy Under Secretary
Defense Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition Processes

Vivek KundraVivek Kundra
Federal CIO

Dan MintzDan Mintz
Former CIO, DOT
Current CTO Civil & Health Services Group CSC

Molly O’NeillMolly O’Neill
Former CIO
Environmental Protection Agency

Alec RossAlec Ross
Sr. Advisor for Innovation
Department of State

Tim SchmidtTim Schmidt
Department of Transportation

Lewis ShepherdLewis Shepherd
Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Government

Peter TseronisPeter Tseronis
Deputy Associate CIO
Department of Energy

David WennergrenDavid Wennergren
Deputy CIO
Department of Defense


The following was sent to @govfresh via multiple DMs under the pseudonym “@realtweetthroat” with the request his identify be withheld to protect him, his family and his real high-ranking position at the real White House.


By now the world knows that while @cheeky_geeky was out having dinner, silly old Twitter got banned from the White House.

What’s unbelievable is that @GovTwit found out about this the same day it announced a 1,300% growth in Gov Twittering.

@arrington‘s @techcrunch is no @washingtonpost and this is not your ordinary Twittergate.

This is “#realtwittergate.”

For all Vivek “I don’t tweet” Kundra’s #opengov #gov20 talk, its still business as usual, no different than disabling the telegraph in the Lincoln White House or the rotary phone in Bush’s.

Aneesh “I don’t tweet either” Chopra has full access to all social media accounts and jokes about blocking Vivek. His relationship with @macon and @BevUSA is pretty tenuous. Definitely an Al Haig “I am in control here” power struggle.

While the rest of us try to save health care and solve this economic thing, @barackobama is above the rest of us. Every hour, he parades around bragging about his follower count and “Oprah just DM’d me.” Really loses it when he gets a Qwitter message, often calling IRS to follow-up. “Just scare ’em a little.”

I’m just tired of tweeting from my Blackberry in the Eye Street Grill basement, seemingly the only place in DC beyond reach of twire-taps. It would be MUCH easier trying to get @caseycoleman‘s attention from inside the White House.

Other scandalous Administration twidbits American twitizens must know:

  • @Kal_Penn now admits leaving “House” was “a big mistake” and thought it was going to be more like ‘The West Wing,’ “only with Twitter.”
  • @lovisatalk is the person behind all of those #iranelection hashtags and just doesn’t get why @biz and @ev should get all the credit. “Ghandhi is still waiting for his Nobel Prize. They can, too.”
  • @marydavie‘s “Acquisition 2.0” is really a clandestine effort to stimulate the economy (dig deeper in the Zappos/Amazon deal and raid her shoe closet).
  • @levyj413 doesn’t even recycle and says @greenversations and “the whole green thing” is “a lost cause.”
  • @AndrewPWilson says “the flu shot doesn’t work.”

@carlmalamud is fighting the good fight. No doubt @EllnMllr is losing it during Transparency Camp planning meetings. Haven’t heard a tweep from @timoreilly, most likely off to another keynote. (Tim, stay with us, this is Gov 2.0 at it’s best).

Please @whitehouse, listen to Chief #Nonk @craignewmark and get serious about transforming government.

Forget the economy. Forget health care. Forget national security (sorry @stratsoc).

September is just around the corner and I need a date for the Gov 2.0 Summit Dance. Move over @iJustine, I NEED to DM @caseycoleman.

We’re beyond @crisiscamp at this point. The White House NEEDS Twitter more than ever in the history of American democracy.

@edatpost, meet me in the Eye Street Grill basement. America must hear the truth, the deleted tweets, the lies (@arrington, don’t bother).

There’s more. There’s so much more.

I just hope @cheeky_geeky enjoyed his dinner.


P.S. @dslunceford, for the safety of my family and employment status, please, please don’t add my name to @GovTwit.

#ogi and the Live Tweet Showcase

OGI and the Live Tweet Showcase

photo by wordbiz

By now, it’s a cliché that Twitter has real-world value. Yet if you really want to appreciate both the usefulness and hipness of microblogging, try participating in a social media conference where live Tweeting is not only encouraged, the Tweets also are displayed on JumboTrons flanking the on-stage speaker.

Such was the case earlier this week at the Open Government and Innovations Conference. Held at the Convention Center in Washington, DC, the two-day conference brought together 700 “gov 2.0” types from the federal government and the consulting community that supports it. As such, not only did most attendees pack a Twitter-appified PDA; many also toted laptops or netbooks.

To meet such demand, the conference organizers established a hash tag—a unique series of characters (e.g., “ogi”), prefaced by a hash symbol (#)—to group together all #ogi Tweets. Tags, of course, are nothing new; what was new (at least for me) were the two JumboTrons that showcased, in real time on a 3×2 grid, each #ogi Tweet, coupled with the Tweeter’s headshot and user name.

Initially, this setup was overwhelming. With so many things competing for attention—the speaker, his PowerPoint presentation, Twitter, the JumboTrons, the legs of the blonde two tables over—distraction was easy. Yet as the conference proceeded, information overload gave way to information empowerment.

How? Instead of indulging our inner ADD, participants stayed focused. At the same time we typed, we listened. At the same time we listened, we read. Multitasking was not optional.

Yes, of course, such juggling can be dizzying. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not for philosophy seminars. But social media isn’t philosophy, especially for those of us who do it for a living. And when we attend a conference on a subject with which we’re already familiar, we learn not only from the speakers but also from our peers.

For instance, after a panel on how to make the federal acquisitions process more transparent, I carried out a Tweeted conversation, with Jaime Gracia, on how to make RFP responses public. When I wanted to attend multiple panels that were taking place simultaneously, the #ogi tag allowed me to be in two places at once. When questions were being solicited for Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, even though my colleague, Steve Radick, was back in McLean, his tagged Tweet appeared on the JumboTron and soon made its way to Kundra.

The beauty of this live Tweet showcase is its combination of transcriptions with punditry; that is, while some record what’s being said, others prefer to add their own thoughts. Put another way, a live Tweet showcase crowdsources note-taking. The best notes are re-Tweeted, the best note-takers are followed, and, in the end, there’s a digital trail, complete with headshots and links, of contacts made, water cooler gossip, enlightened dialogue, and everything in-between.

But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself at an upcoming gov 2.0 confab.

50 must-follow #Health20 heroes on Twitter

Healthcare workers and advocates are bridging social media, technology tools and healthcare to work towards meaningful healthcare reform and the development of an Electronic Health Record and National Health Information Exchange. This list is by no means comprehensive so please add more. I would like to eventually categorize into groups, but you can get an idea by search under hashtags #healthcare, #hcsm, #hcmktg and #hcreform (please share other hashtags being used).

Here are 50 #Health20 heroes to follow on Twitter (alpha by Twittername:

1samadams@1samadams: Cat Herder Extraordinairre

2healthguru@2healthguru: recovering X-managed care executive, converted health system reformer, student of SM apps

AbbieCitron@AbbieCitron: Legal nurse consultant working with attorneys on medically related cases. Delicious food and wine, family, friends, and my dogs

Anthony_Guerra@Anthony_Guerra: Professionally trained journalist who loves C-suite level healthcare IT issues.

brown2020@brown2020: Co-founder & CEO of 3banana, mobile semantic data capture startup. Former founder and CEO of Health Hero Network (now Robert Bosch Healthcare).

Carrie_Vaughan@Carrie_Vaughan: Technology editor with HealthLeaders Media print and online. Interests: technology, leadership, strategy

Cascadia@Cascadia: Community eHealth Advocate creating the space where participatory health care, collective intelligence, and community converge.

ChristineKraft@ChristineKraft: People, not patients. Fresh air, clean water; Health 2.0 and beyond…

cindythroop@cindythroop: Social science researcher, data nerd, and policy wonk.

crgonzalez@crgonzalez: Activist, Citizen At Large, Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Strategist, Proposal Writer, Social Media Maven, proud INTJ, and occasional scamp

danamlewis@danamlewis: Creator and moderator of #hcsm | health communications | May 2010 @ UofAlabama | lover of life, social media, diet soda, travel, and staying busy!

DaphneLeigh@DaphneLeigh: Healthcare marketing and communications

DirkStanley@DirkStanley: CMIO and Hospitalist and Father, into Healthcare IT

donshep@donshep: Technology Executive and follower of all things geek! Tweeting about #HIT, Sci-Fi, TV, you name it.

DrJosephKim@DrJosephKim, MD, MPH: Physician, MIT engineer, technology advocate, blogger

Doctor_V@Doctor_V: Kids tummy doctor, father, writer and overall good guy

drval@drval: Physician, blogger, cartoonist, CEO – using both halves of my brain.

DrVes@DrVes: Board-certified Internist, Allergy/Immunology Fellow, Former Cleveland Clinic Assistant Professor of Medicine, NEJM Advisory Panel Member.

drwalker_rph@drwalker_rph: Pharmacist/consultant, PHR advocate, educator, cochlear implant recipient, volunteer, cyclist, geek learning to twitter

EdBennett@EdBennett: Manages Web sites for the Univ. of MD Medical System

ePatientDave@ePatientDave: Patient empowerment advocate, blogger

GraftFinder@GraftFinder: Simplifying the process of acquiring tissue grafts and biologics

healthblawg@healthblawg: Health Care Lawyer, Consultant, Blogger

irb123@irb123: ER doc, Writer, book How To Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit by Wiley-Blackwell to come out late fall.

lsaldanamd@lsaldanamd: Emergency Physician in N. TX; Medical Director IT/EHR-Clinical Decision Support– “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Einstein

JOSullivan@JOSullivan: Health Care Reform Advocate. Tweeting about HC reform, biobanking & software dev

janicemccallum@janicemccallum: Digital publishing veteran and product strategist; current focus on healthcare info. Tennis player.

jayparkinson@jayparkinson: Co-founder of Hello Health

 jbselz@jbselz: Entrepreneur and Innovator in Health Care and Social Media. Co-Founder & CEO of Ozmosis, Inc., The Trusted Physician’s Network.

jensmccabe@jensmccabe: CEO, Contagion Health. Consulting gig(s): Chief Patient Advocate @organizedwisdom. NextHealth cofounder (NL). Science/genetics geek. Stochastic.

jimmyweeks@jimmyweeks: CIO @ one of the 100 Most Wired hospitals in the U.S. & the 36th of 5k to be at Stage 6

john_chilmark@john_chilmark: IT analyst focusing on consumer-facing HIT. Fanatic cyclist, skier, happiest outdoors

_KathleenLeary@_KathleenLeary: Activist, Advocate, League of Women Voters, I may not be the voice, but I will be your megaphone

KentBottles@KentBottles: Physician at ICSI, reader of books, airplane traveler, speaker/writer/learner

kevinmd@kevinmd: Primary care doctor Kevin Pho, M.D. provides physician commentary on medicine, health, drugs, Medicare, healthcare reform and patient and hospital issues.

KristieTweets@KristieTweets: Social media mama, healthcare content analyst, Sharepoint designer/trainer, EMR trainer, writer, geek, marathoner, blogger

lizasisler@lizasisler: Wife, Mother, IT Consulting. Looking for a connected world with collaboration on diagnosis & prescribing where medical records are globally portable. Dreamer?

LeeAase@LeeAase: Chancellor, SMUG. Day job: Mayo Clinic social media manager. Opinions tweeted are solely my own, not my employer’s.

lostonroute66@lostonroute66: Biomedical informatics, patient safety, social media, user experience/interface design, Flex, Red Sox, music, and food

MedC2@MedC2: Looking for answers to questions I don’t know. Tech + People + Med = Hope EHR EMR OSS DoD Mil Learning-I follow back, PMP, CPHIMS, DHIMS

MeredithGould@MeredithGould: Create communication strategies & services to enhance healthcare. Write about faith, Jewish roots of Christian worship. Proud to practice applied Sociology!

mkmackey@mkmackey: Watching trends in Medical, Healthcare, and technology, niche marketer

nancyshute@nancyshute: Science and medical writer, blogger for US News & World Report, sometimes gardener.

nickdawson@nickdawson: From VA and many fine airports. Healthcare administration, foodie, music buff and fan of all things porcine

norskedoc@norskedoc: Chief Knowledge Officer at ICSI, Interested in almost everything, working on transforming health care.

PhilBaumann@PhilBaumann: RN | Pharma | Health Care

rilescat@rilescat: Director of Information Technology, hospital and many clinics. Blogger. Dedicated to Health Technologies advancements

SusannahFox@SusannahFox: Pew Internet Project researcher, contributor

theEHRGuy@theEHRGuy Healthcare Interoperability Consultant, Enterprise Architect for Healthcare IT, Standards Expert: HL7 DICOM, IHE, HITSP, CCHIT.

tstitt@tstitt: Writer | Strategist | Drupal Fan

Gov 2.0 Radio now on GovFresh

Gov 2.0 Radio

The weekly Sunday Gov 2.0 Radio talk show hosted by Adriel Hampton, Steve Lunceford and Steve Ressler now has its own page on GovFresh. Tune in every Sunday at 5 p.m. eastern for the latest in collaborative, transparent government and talks with who’s who in Gov 2.0.

Listen to last Sunday’s show:

The Promise of Open Data: We talk with City of San Francisco CTO Blair Adams, SF innovations manager Jay Nath, and Web developer Tom Croucher about the open access to government data.

Gov 2.0 Radio on GovFresh

Gov 2.0 Hero: Beth Beck

Gov 2.0 Hero: Beth Beck

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

WIRED Magazine is my bell-weather for all things new. How does that apply to Gov 2.0? I find that we, the generic government, usually lag two years behind industry in our application of new products or processes. WIRED showcases all things trendy, giving me a jumpstart on ideas for cool new applications and products. I can try out new technology and software in prototype projects and once we’ve worked out the kinks in the system, others can follow.

Blazing trails and opening new pathways can be bloody business, but worth it if we can forge paths for others to follow. Those rushing in from behind may not notice the bloodstains under their feet, but who cares, as long as they’re stampeding through the opening we create.

What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?


Social media arms us for the “palace coup” within our entrenched power structures. Let’s face it, bureaucracy is all about layers of process and people, encrusted like fossils under the weight of decades upon decades of past decisions. We’ve always done things a certain way, communicating through stovepipe-like organizations with positions carefully crafted and revealed only after dozens of signatures.

Enter social media, and our ordered world collapses into chaos.

Here’s one tool to contribute to the glorious chaos: Twitter. Yes, I hear your grumbles already. I read all the fuss over the tediousness of Twitter highlighting what someone had for breakfast. All I can say is, I follow Tweeters who add value, interest, humor, and perspective. I’m not interested whether or not someone’s clothes need dry-cleaning. But, I AM interested in tweets about a dry-cleaner’s solvent that might cause cancer.

For me, Twitter opens up avenues of communication with folks, both inside and outside NASA – those who congregate around the watering hole we call space. We share a common passion, and love sharing our passion with others. At NASA, I admit we’re embracing Twitter and other social media tools only in “pockets of enlightenment,” as I like to call them. The battle is pretty bloody in other parts of our organization. But, this is to be expected, isn’t it? Social media is the great unknown. And, after all, we are “the government.” Big Brother. Uncle Sam. I can’t think of any bureaucracy that values change? Can you? But we’ll get there. Maybe not as quickly as some would like. By the time we get there, the world will change again, and we’ll start this process over.

The government: a perpetual work-in-progress.

What’s the killer app that will make Gov 2.0 the norm instead of the exception?

iPhone!!!! Let me repeat: iPhone! I know this isn’t what your question is asking for, but I have to say the iPhone transformed world, my ability to communicate – which gets back to my answer in #2.

I’m part of a NASA Headquarters’ prototype project to test the iPhone over the Blackberry. OMGosh! I can’t rave about it enough. With the Blackberry, I always felt like I was talking on Maxwell Smart’s Shoe Phone. I read e-mail. That’s about it. I know, I know. Blackberry has other features, but that’s all that I really messed with.

My beloved iPhone allows me to select and download apps, like Tweetie, which I aDORE! Once I started using Tweetie, I could post pics to Twitter instantly. TOTally freed me from my laptop. Now I could take pics in the midst of NASA events and post them immediately. I can bring followers WITH me to experience what NASA has to offer. I post pics of our astronauts discussing their missions; pics of our live feed from space from Mission Control; pics of the nation’s Capitol; business travel; and much much more. The iPhone allows me to share the amazing things we do at NASA in a way not possible through a press release or web feature. My tweeps get to come with me to Shuttle launches and tours of our facilities. Really. How cool is that?

Yep, hands down. iPhone.

What part of Gov 2.0 most excites you?

I love the fact that technology available today removes the old barriers of organization, geography, and time. We can hold conversations across the universe (literally) without a “badge” or invitation to “the meeting” or physical journey.

This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. All the tools we have within our reach must be approached with professional responsibility. We must measure what we communicate with reasoned good judgment and maturity. Some will abuse the freedom social media offers. But we can’t manage for the few. We can offer trust, and expect this trust to be honored.

I’m excited we can accomplish the “public good” in amazing new ways, totally unimaginable only a few years ago. We are poised at the edge of a new frontier. The bold will blaze the trail there. The others can follow.

On your mark! Get set! GO!!

10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.


Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends


Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.

You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.

Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)

The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)

LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)

WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs


Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.

It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.

For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.

Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.

Be sure to check out Mashable’s guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.

Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you’re more into watching videos than recording them, enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition


There aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.

Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.

In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.

Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to

vpsnet logoA special thanks to, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week.

Sign up at and use the coupon code “SOSG”to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there’s no risk.

About the “10 Ways” Series

The “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

This content was originally written by Mashable’s Josh Catone.

Gov 2.0 Hero: Nick Charney

Gov 2.0 Hero: Nick Charney

  • Renewal Wonk, aka “Mr. Engagement” of the Rat Pack of Canadian Public Service Renewal,
  • Blog · Twitter · Linkedin · Facebook

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

Let’s just say it’s been long, dual-tracked road.

Officially, I’ve been a federal public servant (in Canada) now for just over three years, during which time I’ve held 5 different positions, each of which has taken me a bit closer to Gov 2.0.

Unofficially, I started blogging about public service renewal about a year ago with Mike Mangulabnan. We originally set out to create a single stream of aggregated content, mostly mainstream media, which was relevant to public servants. We soon realized that we were providing links to content openly, but talking about it privately. After a discussion about direction, constraints and risks we agreed that we should start publishing our own content on a regular basis. Our first inclination was to craft a blog where we alternated postings between us; a kind of ongoing conversation between public servants about the public service. Things sort of naturally progressed to where I write the content and Mike provides (the invaluable) editorial advice.

Thus began our less official journey into Gov 2.0.

We set out to make public service renewal (an official top priority of the Clerk of the Privy Council) something that everyone could take ownership of with something as simple as a blog. Open and honest ownership over our business and responsibilities as public servants (what we affectionately call scheming virtuously) has been the core driver behind the blog ever since. To date, a variety of topics such as culture, training, career paths, the role of public service unions and, of course, new collaborative technologies and social media have been openly discussed on the blog.

I don’t want to excite you too much with the details my more official journey. Suffice it to say that my unofficial undertakings have exerted influence over my official duties to the point where they now exist at the confluence of new collaborative technologies, employee engagement, knowledge management, policy, communications and organizational management. Which to me, is freaking awesome.

What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?

My background is in conflict studies and organizational management, so it’s no surprise that the largest opportunity I see is better internal collaboration enabled by Web 2.0. For example, since the adoption of GCPEDIA (the Government of Canada’s official government-wide wiki) I have seen innovation through collaboration that would have been otherwise unattainable, and we are only at the tip of the iceberg.

What’s the killer app that will make Gov 2.0 the norm instead of the exception?

Gov 2.0 is neither a suite of applications that allows citizens to interact with their government, nor is it a tool that facilitates better collaboration between public servants. So don’t take me the wrong way when I say that I really couldn’t care less about the application itself. What I want is the ethos behind the tools to become the norm within government. If we already had that type of culture, we wouldn’t even be talking about the tools, because their value to enhance what we already do would be apparent. Instead we are stuck trying to not only introduce and champion the tools, but to also revolutionize the way we go about our work.

What part of Gov 2.0 most excites you?

By far it has to be connecting with other public servants around common issues regardless of tenure, professional classification or position within the hierarchy. When I first started in the public service it was hard to connect with these people (especially when they were outside of your department) because of bureaucratic imperatives built right into the culture, but as the ethos of open collaboration takes root, finding them will only get easier.