Archive for August, 2009

Join me for two free webinars

You’re invited to join these free webinars that I teach as part of EPA’s Web training program. Please spread the word.

September 2, 2-3 EDT: Mixing Web 1.0 and 2.0. Using our efforts for Earth Month (surrounding Earth Day on April 22), I discuss how we used all of our tools to accomplish our mission. This experience helped me develop my social media mantra: mission, tool, metrics, teach.
View/download the slide deck

September 17, 2:30-4:00 EDT: Talking about social media with managers. I have a presentation I’m giving to senior management groups at EPA. In this webinar, I’ll give the same presentation, but also step out of character to explain what I emphasize as I give it. My goal is to teach you how to give the presentation, and I use the presentation itself as a teaching tool.
View/download the slide deck

For both slide decks, consider them public domain: use them as you see fit, edit them, whatever you like. Crediting me is nice but not required.

– When you register, you’ll get a confirmation email with a URL and a phone number. They’re unique to you, so keep that information! If you lose the info, you can just reregister, even after the session starts. There’s no general URL or phone I can give you.
– The only cost is for the call – it’s not toll-free.
– You’ll need to be able to use free software called GotoWebinar, which doesn’t require a separate download – your browser will automatically download a small piece as you start up. It does work with both IE and Firefox.
– I can’t provide technical support. If you’re not sure whether you can access GotoWebinar, or you need help using it, please try their support site.
– I’m willing to record them, but the recordings are enormous and longer than YouTube allows. If you know of a way to distribute a 30-60 minute video that’s hundreds of megabytes, please let me know!
– I do these a few times a year, so you’ll have another chance in a few months if you miss it.

IT forum, nontraditional agendas, and the power of emotion

Next week, I’ve been asked to host an “IT Quarterly Forum,” a three-hour session of typically senior IT managers around gov’t and industry. The subject is social media. I have the privilege of working with two of my Social Media Subcouncil colleagues, Michelle Springer at the Library of Congress and Amanda Eamich at the Dept. of Agriculture.

We’re trying to avoid the standard agenda, with one Powerpoint presentation after another. Instead, we want to demonstrate what I call the social media way of thinking – not just drone on about it, but actually show it in action.  So we’ll ask questions of the audience, we’ll include them in ferreting out good info about how social media is being used, we’ll reward them with candy when they listen carefully, and we’ll promote a Twitter hashtag so people outside the room can learn along with them.  And I’m going to take a flying leap into the unknown and see whether these folks will join in making a thunderstorm by snapping, clapping, and pounding their feet.  It worked great when I spoke at a local elementary school, anyway.

We’re also planning to show a couple of videos.  To get them thinking about how information is changing, we’ve got Information R/evolution by Mike Wesch, which I think is a little easier to grasp for a non-technical audience than his better-known The Machine is Us/ing Us.

And then there’s the latest version of Did You Know, a video started by a teacher named Karl Fisch. I’ve shown it more than a dozen times over the last couple of years, but only today did I actually find and read his original blog post about it. His experience was fascinating, and demonstrated much of what happens in social media: he created it for a specific audience (fellow teachers in his district) and purpose (start conversations about how the world their students will enter is changing), but it took off. That’s good and bad. The good thing is his thought-provoking points have been seen millions of times. The bad thing is that the context has been lost, and some people simply take the info to heart instead of starting conversations.

In one of his blog posts, he mentioned a video put together by some fourth graders about how they use Skype to include a classmate who’s stuck at home while being treated for leukemia. It’s classic online video – low video quality, sound that’s sometimes hard to hear, small screen size. Yet … it’s riveting. Because it’s real and heartfelt, and tells a touching story.

So why is that relevant to the upcoming forum? Because this was one of the comments:

You’ve made a convert. Being a district admin, I am initially cautious of new technologies that may tax an already overextended system… but you’ve proven that the cost is far outweighed by the benefits.

Congrats. You’ve touched more than one life.

Sometimes it’s not the slick presentations or the long strategy documents. Sometimes it’s a direct demonstration that convinces people of the power these tools offer us … to tell an agency’s story, to share critical information with people, to be part of a community.

Got other online items you’d share with this crowd?

I’m on Twitter @levyj413