Socrata CEO Kevin Merritt on Open Data: Merritt and Gov 2.0 Radio host Adriel Hampton discuss open data principles, open standards and APIs, and how to use social principles to get more value out of government data.
The Beltway is buzzing about Twitter’s new Government Liaison gig, and the excitement is shaking DC like a California earthquake. The aftershock has produced a smart post by Andrew Wilson (Top 10 Requests for the New Government Liaison at Twitter) that offers great ideas for Twitter as they comb through a stack of resumes bigger than a GPO print job.
Here’s the gist of the job description:
Twitter is looking for an experienced, entreprenurial person to make Twitter better for policymakers, political organizations and government officials and agencies. You’ll be our first D.C. -based employee and the closest point of contact with a variety of important people and organizations looking to get the most out of Twitter on both strategic and highly tactical levels. You’ll help Twitter understand what we can do to better serve candidates and policymakers across party and geographical lines. You’ll support policymakers use of Twitter to help them communicate and interact with their constituents and the world. You’ll work with nearly every group at the company and at every level to pursue your vision for how Twitter ought to be. You’ll help set the culture and approach of a fledgling public policy department and be an important part of our very small company.
There are a number of well-qualified people for this position, and by no means am I endorsing or know whether the following are interested, but as personal campaigns pop up and resumes fly, here’s a few folks Twitter might want to consider:
Adriel Hampton (@adrielhampton) is an avid Twitter contributor and influential Gov 2.0 tweeter, both in the context of his role as host of Gov 2.0 Radio, but also as a public servant for the City of San Francisco. He knows how to use Twitter both in a hands-on government capacity at the local level as well as in a political campaign (see his recent GovFresh post Can Twitter reimagine democracy?). While he currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m sure he’d be more than willing to do so for Twitter.
Steve Lunceford (@dslunceford) is the founder of GovTwit, the world’s largest government Twitter directory. He’s enthusiastically built GovTwit over the past few years into a central tool for cataloging government Twitter accounts, both at the state and local level. Lunceford is well-regarded and well-connected within DC. See also his recent critical but constructive post, A verified disappointment: how Twitter handles government accounts.
Wayne Moses Burke (@wmburke) is the founder of Open Forum Foundation and GovLuv, the Twitter app that helps citizens connect with government. Burke is one of the few, perhaps only, people in DC who has helped build a real (and valuable) government Twitter application. He’s well-regarded within DC and passionate about changing the way government connects with citizens.
Peter Slutsky (@pslutsky) is currently Ning‘s Strategic Relationships Manager and based in DC. Working in DC for a Silicon Valley-based tech company, Slutsky will most likely be able to manage the cultural divide and leverage his already established connections with key people within government. With Ning going through growing pains, this might be a nice transition for him.
Thoughts on who else might be the right person for the job?
I’m a big fan of Gov 2.0 Radio.
What I appreciate most is host Adriel Hampton‘s iterative approach to improving it. Each episode is a subtle experiment in something new. It’s not pretentious, over-produced or trendy chatter. It’s quality niche content and every episode is a solid course on what’s happening in the Gov 2.0, open government movement. Adriel and his co-hosts, Steve Lunceford and Steve Ressler, do a great job of connecting listeners to leaders and create a true sense of community.
Last week, Adriel and I met to discuss an upcoming San Francisco Gov 2.0 event we’re working on (stay tuned). We talked about Gov 2.0 Radio, and I offered to brand, design and develop the new site, working from the GovFresh Gov 2.0 WordPress Theme. We didn’t deliberate on quality (though I must say, it looks pretty sharp). We took an iterative approach to the new site. Like the show, it’ll get better over time.
Here’s what open government and Gov 2.0 leaders are saying about the new White House Open Government Directive.
What’s your take?
Carl Malamud, Public.Resource.Org (@CarlMalamud)
“This is great. No equivocating, vacillating, hemming, or hawing. This is all good, big thumbs up to the folks that made this happen.”
Ellen Miller, Sunlight Foundation (@EllnMllr)
“The Open Government Directive demonstrates how the Obama administration is matching its aspirational goals with concrete policies and accountability measures. I expect it will create a sea change in how the government and public interact, what information we as citizens have at our fingertips, and that it will redefine that public information means that its online. Itâ€™s going to be up to all of us to participate and monitor how well government meets these goals.”
Craig Newmark, Craigslist (@craignewmark)
“The Open Government Initiative is a huge commitment to:
- listening to all Americans, hearing what they have to say
- telling people what’s going on in government, like where the money goes
The results will create effective large-scale grassroots democracy and far greater fiscal responsibility.
I feel that these efforts are complementary to the adoption of the US Consititution.”
Chris Vein, City and County of San Francisco (@Veinesque)
The President’s Directive is a tremendous step forward. It not only further explains the President’s vision, but it provides an aggressive roadmap and timeline for getting Federal, State and local governments to improve transparency, increase participation and collaboration. San Francisco is proud to have responded early to the President’s call for open government with our Open Data Directive and DataSF initiatives. The President’s Directive will help San Francisco improve and extend our goal of a more transparent and open City.
Dustin Haisler, City of Manor, TX (@dustinhaisler)
“The Open Government Directive is a great starting point for the open-gov movement in the federal government; however, one thing to consider is whether open data is truly “usable” data for our constituents. Instead of just putting datasets online for mashup artists, we should also focus on the interface our citizens will use to get the information. In addition, multi-agency collaboration starting on the local level will be a very important key to the overall initiative’s success. Overall, I think the directive is good move in the right direction for the federal government.”
Peter Corbett, iStrategyLabs (@corbett3000)
“We’ve all been eagerly awaiting the OGD and it’s not a let down by any stretch. It will lend support and clarification to what is a complex issue for our government: how to become more open, transparent and participatory. What we’re seeing here is the innovative use of technology and smart policy to unleash the talent of the American people. I’m most excited about how the work we’ve done on Apps for Democracy will soon be institutionalized throughout federal agencies when OMB releases guidance for how to use challenges, prizes and other incentives for stimulating citizen driven innovation.”
Andrew Wilson, Health & Human Services (@AndrewPWilson)
“This directive represents a significant step toward the presidentâ€™s goals of transparency, public participation and collaboration. One element that I would like to see emphasized as part of the implementation is a concerted, systemic effort to improve the tools government employees have available to collaborate internally. For me, improved internal collaboration is an essential element to developing the framework for a more fully engaged and responsive government. Imagine a world where cross-departmental information flow was so robust that citizens could interact with ANY agency on ANY issue and could get a timely, complete and helpful response.”
“Open Government Directive is a great first step in the open gov/Gov 2.0 movement. While the data and transparency piece is important, I’m most interested in how agencies create their own open gov plans and what actions they take from their planning exercise. I believe most of the movement for open gov starts when it is done at the agency level and solving true mission needs.”
Clay Johnson, Sunlight Labs (@cjoh)
“This is a great and ambitious plan that’s particularly challenging in terms of both logistics and technology. It is the equivalent of the “putting a man on the moon” of the Transparency movement in the federal government. Challenging, awe-inspiring and risky.”
Adriel Hampton, Gov 2.0 Radio (@adrielhampton)
“I am concerned that some may use the document and its compliance deadlines as a simple checklist. However, as did the president’s January open government memo, this document empowers the growing ranks of Gov 2.0 innovators. Its guidance on data release and standards is also valuable and needed.”
Steve Lunceford, GovTwit (@dslunceford)
“I think this is a great step to formalize a process and â€œmovementâ€ that has already been spreading throughout government. I would have like to have seen more guidance around transparency, participation and collaboration from an interagency standpoint versus just citizen interaction, but believe that could be a natural output as agencies strive to meet the various deadlines. It will also be interesting to see how quickly and enthusiastically agencies respond to a directive which lays out new unfunded mandates given the many priorities they are already juggling.”
Bob Gourley, CTOvision (@bobgourley)
The most important part of the directive, in my opinion, is the attachment with guidance on plan formulation. The thought put into that means agencies do not have to recreate the wheel when formulating their own plan. The part of the directive that we all need to watch out for abuse on: it seems to apply to all other than OMB and above. Yet history has shown those are the ones we need the most openness from.
Brian Ahier (@ahier)
“I am thrilled to see the emphasis on open government this directive represents. I hope to see government agencies able to meet the deadlines for action established by the Open Government Directive. I also want to see citizen participation in determining the high value data sets to be published. Since this directive also requires the data be published in an open format, it will be nice to have documents available where the data is not shielded within the pdf format.”
Shaking Gov 2.0 Ground: Join federal Web developer Scott Horvath for a lively discussion of the U.S. Geographical Survey’s Web initiatives, including “Did You Feel That?” and the Twitter Earthquake Detector (TED) project. With hosts Adriel Hampton, Steve Ressler and Steve Lunceford. More Gov 2.0 Radio Â»
Each week, hosts Adriel Hampton, GovLoop founder Steve Ressler and GovTwit founder Steve Lunceford review the latest Gov 2.0 news and talk with in-the-trenches Gov 2.0 leaders. For someone who isn’t a govie and is 3,000 miles from Washington, DC, their in-depth discussions provide valuable insight into the inner workings of government innovations, from local to federal.
Big thanks to Adriel, Steve and Steve for championing the great work going on around building better government.
Gov 2.0 Radio host Adriel Hampton answers the question ‘What does Gov 2.0 mean to you?’