Friday, March 16, 2007

Social Media Explosion

In recent weeks (and even days) the interest in social media has exploded. Clearly we have reached a tipping point.   Here are some interesting links that Bill Williams, and others, have pointed out.

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, there is a front page story about the collision of new and old media at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.  

The current edition of Business Week features a series of special reports about using Wikis in the corporate world.

And on Feb 28th, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted at WikiFair which featured several interesting sessions about using Wikis in several government agencies.  A lengthy videocast of the speakers is online, along with speaker notes and Powerpoint

Thursday, March 15, 2007


"There is no wrong way to use a Wiki..."
Check out WikiZen

FSWeb 1.5

A new version of the FSWeb will begin rolling out on April 2nd.  
It is based on portal technology, much like My Yahoo  or customized Google home page.  The idea is to provide information that is specific to the user, and to allow the user to customize the information that they receive.   The new approach should be a big improvement for the existing FSWeb -- mainly because it will bring a lot of applications together in one place under one eauthentication password.   So, for example, we will have access to paycheck, FSToday, employee notices, RSS feeds, weather, Google searches, etc...

This is all good news but it is only a good first step.  Portals are Web 1.0 stuff from the late 1990s.
The real leap forward will be allowing employees to create and share information themselves.  
Fortunately, the folks are that working on this new version of the FSWeb are also talking about how we can start to social software and social media.  It won't be available on the April 2nd release, but I think we are headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Open source audio and video tools

Here's a tip from Christine Romero, Region 1 AV specialist -Audacity is an open source audio recording and mixing program.  Might be a good tool for creating Podcasts -- we'll let you know.

Also check out Democracy, an open source tool for creating and managing your own web based video channels.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


We had a wonderful phone conversation with Gary Nebeker at the Forest Service Geospatial Service and Technology Center (GSTC) in Salt Lake City.   Gary is using open source tools (primarily Xoops, a free. PHP-based web content management package) to run a wonderfully interactive website called Geoportal.  He is running it on a local PC, using open source server (Apache) and open source database (MySQL) software.
Even with my limited knowledge, it seems like a remarkably flexible and intuitive system.
Check out the conference management site that he has implemented for an upcoming event.


Blog stuff

Reghan Cloudman, public affairs specialist on the Arapaho-Roosevelt NFs, pointed me toward the 
web site and webinars of Shel Holtz.  He is doing a lot of work at the intersection of communications and the new
web tools.  I've provided a link to his blog.

I listened to Shel's most recent podcast  in which he talks about new phenomenon called Twitter, which is a combination of blogging and text messaging.

Also, the New Communications Forum, hosted by Ragan Communications, was held in Las Vegas last week.  This is a major venue for discussing
and learning about social media for public relations.

Finally, check out a new blogging site/tool called Vox, it adds a lot of multimedia features and the ability to control who can subscribe to your blog.

Region 7 - Basic Principles

Welcome to Region 7 - the Forest Service employee intranet

Here are some principles to consider:

1) Region 7 is neither a bottom up nor a top down effort.  Everyone participates equally, but the results will differ.  Better leaders will have more followers.  Better authors will have more readers. Better producers will reach a bigger audience.

2) Norms and etiquette are enforced  by the online community.  
Disrepectful or destructive people will be asked to leave.

3) Costs are low (i.e. open source tools and volunteer labor) but accountability
is high (i.e. participants are expected to make positive contributions to the Forest Service mission and community.)

4) Experimentation, innovation and creative play are encouraged.  Humor is appreciated.

5) The best ideas have not yet been conceived.