Toni wants to hear more...so here we go. Read "Let them eat cake," below. In the olden days, like yesterday, we targeted our communication to specific audiences. That, I learned, is so last-century. Social media means engaging people in conversation, one on one, through all of this new technology. Through blogs, like this. We reach out directly to people, rather than targeting groups of people to give them information, or see them as a class of citizens that may or may not respond through channels or more formal means.
Corporations are using You Tube, FaceBook and My Space to talk directly with people, to find out what they are most interested in and create a personal relationship. It is that personal relationship that reaches people at a deeper level and really engages them.
How can we relate this to the Forest Service? Many people have a passion about our issues. Many people either love us or hate us. That provides a perfect environment for discussion of these issues. It could also provide the perfect environment for poor behavior, especially on the "hate us" side. There is protocol for blogging and for use of wikis, for instance. There are lots of examples of self-policing of wikipedia, for example.
We could use MySpace or Facebook to create personal relationships -- good personal relationships. How about a MySpace profile for Smokey Bear? We could create a virtual forest in Second Life.
There's lots we could do to create positive relationships in this new world, and have a great time doing it, and learning a lot at the same time.