Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Still don’t get Twitter? A radio explainer on Friday

with 3 comments

twitterTwitter — a funny name that you keep hearing out there? But what is it? How does it work? And even if you understand that it 140-character posts that answers the question, ‘What are you doing right now?’ why would anybody care?

I have done a few posts trying to explain what Twitter is… and how Twitter works. (See here… and here…) I also have posted several posts on interesting uses of Twitter. (See the FEMA Twitter-conference… and the Twitter vote report… for example.) But… we’re going to do a radio explainer today on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose program. We are going to walk people through how one uses Twitter, but also why people use Twitter. I am tappoing some expertise to help me here — Chris Rasmussen, who is a knowledge manager and trainer for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency — part of the team that created Intellipedia. (Profile here… When I was at Federal Computer Week, I had Rasmussen on my Federal News Radio program. See that here.)

After the break, I’ll have some relevant links — people in government that you can follow to help build your network, some written how-to’s, some video how-to’s.

I have been using Twitter for… well, awhile now. At first, I didn’t really get it. ‘Why does anybody do this? Who cares what I’m doing.’ The big challenge in my mind is building a network of peole who talk about shared areas of interest — and it is the weakest part of Twitter: There isn’t a really good way to find people on Twitter.

If you have issues you’d like us to discuss, post them here… or on Twitter, where I am @cdorobek.

After the break… some links that cover Twitter.

Here are a number of links about Twitter.

* Guide: Experimenting with Twitter, Part I
* Guide: Experimenting with Twitter, Part II
* GovTwit: A collection of people — and organizations — in the government arena on Twitter
* AlleyInsider: U.S. Government on Twitter
* PCWeek on tips for new Twitterers
* CNet’s guide to Twitter
* MisterCrayfish blog: How to get yourself set up on Twitter — and why

And some tips for people from Twitter:

@cdorobek 1) put a location in profile 2) post with care as *everyone* can see everything forever – not a walled-off cmnty like FB

@cdorobek @, #, and d are key :-)

I should explain this one — people on Twitter are referred to by the “@” and their screen name. I don’t know why — that’s just the way they do it. You can also “tag” specific information so it can be searched by using the number key. For example, looking for information that people have tagged as being about the inauguration, go to and search #inaug09.

To that end, this recommendation…

@cdorobek dont try to explain, have them do searches on interesting topics, will show cool info and diff types of use

Chris — Twitter 101 — take it slow and balance personal with professional, add value

Some of the more interesting people that I follow — and this is not a complete list…

Just a few technology — government and otherwise — worth following:
@curetonl: NASA Goddard CIO Linda Cureton, who also has a marvelous blog, is experimenting with Twitter.
@cheeky_geeky: Mark Drapeau, Associate Research Fellow, National Defense University — a avid and regular poster but one of the more interesting thinkers in the government 2.0 arena
@amacfee: Harvard Business School Associate Prof. Andrew McAfee, who has a marvelous blog about enterprise use of technology.
@levyj413: Jeffrey Levy, EPA’s director of Web Communications
@govloop: Steve Ressler from DHS, founder of the Young Government Leaders, and creator of the government social networking site

This is not a completely list at all. I’ll add to it as I have time.

Written by cdorobek

January 16, 2009 at 8:57 AM

3 Responses

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  1. I think that Twitter gives new meaning to the word “transparency” … and if you tweet “what I’m thinking” or “what I’m doing” that’s true transparency. Using Twitter for things like press releases, isn’t bad, but that’s not honest transparency. I believe that true transparency is rather risky … maybe somewhat a vulnerability. And Twitter gives you the opportunity to use technology to do that.

    So Chris, what color underwear are you wearing? The answer to that question is REAL transparency.

    Linda Cureton

    January 16, 2009 at 8:06 PM

  2. Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence, Chris!

    Adding to your list of tips, I don’t think I saw retweeting, where you resend something interesting you saw from someone else.

    You simply copy and paste, putting “RT” and their username in front:
    RT @someone Message that person sent out.

    Jeffrey Levy

    January 16, 2009 at 10:30 PM

  3. […] Still don’t get Twitter? A radio explainer on Friday [The Federal WebContent site also has a valuable how-tos about ‘microblogging’ that has some lessons and tips. Read that here… Also see FEMA’s lessons at #4 below… and you can follow me on Twitter at ] […]

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