chrishaller's blog

Using Second Life for Stakeholder Engagement

Why just talk with stakeholders about environmental management (or any other subject)? Let them experience it! Public Agenda is partnering with Public Decisions to explore and showcase the use of Virtual Worlds for citizen engagement.

Conducted entirely in the virtual world Second Life, this one-day conference will provide you with the opportunity to experience and learn about the possibilities of hosting stakeholder learning events using virtual reality.

You'll participate in presentations, discussions . . . even "field trips" that demonstrate how virtual reality is being used for stakeholder learning today.

What You'll Learn:

► The benefits and drawbacks of working with stakeholders in Second Life, including when it's appropriate, efficient and effective—and when it's not

► How Second Life differs from other technologies used for stakeholder engagement

► How Second Life can be used for a range of subject areas, including—but not limited to—environmental management

► Tips for using Second Life effectively, including how to access existing "islands" or spaces within Second Life's virtual world and how to create your own space 

View the conference agenda >>

You don't need prior experience with Second Life to attend, but you will need to create a Second Life account (it's free) in order to participate.

An orientation for registrants new to Second Life (and those who want a refresher) will be provided prior to the conference.

"It's Not the Campaign Anymore"

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The Washington Post recently did a second round of grading, the White House's online home.

On the positive side, "the White House's new media team earned praise for adding new features. Recently, the White House announced its presence on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. [...] In late March, hosted an online town hall, where, in less than 48 hours, more than 92,000 people submitted 103,978 questions and cast 3.5 million votes."

But, "on transparency, has yet to demonstrate any significant implementation other than reiterating that President Obama is committed to it."

The article also points out that simple things, like transcripts of speeches and daily press briefings are unavailable. While the advanced features were praised, the site scored low on providing basic information services started during the Bush administration.

Core Principles for Public Engagement

NCDD, IAP2 and the Co-Intelligence Institute have been leading a dynamic, collaborative online process aimed at developing a set of Core Principles for Public Engagement that most people and organizations in this field can support.  Dozens of practitioners and leading organizations have contributed to the creation of the Core Principles:

1. Careful Planning and Preparation
2. Inclusion and Demographic Diversity
3. Collaboration and Shared Purpose
4. Openness and ­Learning
5. Transparency and Trust
6. Impact and Action
7. Sustained Engagement and Participatory Culture

The Core Principles document will soon be officially submitted to the people working on Obama's open government directive­.

Visit the NCDD website for more detail and to see the long list of supporters in the field >>

Charlene Li: The Future Of Social Networks

Social networks will be like air...




Robin Good's Best Online Collaboration Tools


Very co­mprehensive list... for folks who have a lot of time on their hand to explore. View full list with links >>collabtools3440249958_5419a88c3c


Government agencies to use social networking sites


Agencies can now engage with citizens through popular media technologies such as video-sharing service YouTube, using pre-negotiated service agreements that comply with federal terms and conditions.

After nine months of negotiations, the General Services Administration signed agreements with four video-sharing and social networking sites: Flickr, Vimeo, and YouTube. GSA also is negotiating with the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace.[...]

Most agencies will appoint directors of new media to determine how they can use social networking tools to meet mission goals and comply with President Obama's open government directive, said Sheila Campbell, team leader of Web best practices for the government portal and co-chair of the Federal Web Managers Council.

Very exciting!


Online Civic Networks

At Public Agenda we are currently brainstorming the idea to create online social networks with a focus on civic life for communities, hosted by a sponsoring coalition of local entities (city agencies, non-governmental institutions, ...), that keep engaged citizens in the loop, allow them to network and enable the sponsors to easily host civic engagement activities.



Please let us know your thoughts and get in touch with us, challer [at] publicagenda [dot] org­

Clickz Building Online Communities


Clickz just posted a quick roundup on how to build online communities. The insights are not necessarily new, but I found the planning rules section to be a great summary of three central concepts of online communities: 

  • 90-9-1 rule. Of your audience, 1 percent will actively answer questions and post, 9 percent will comment and ask questions, and 90 percent will passively read the content on your community.

  • ­­30-1­0-10 rule. In general, during any 30-day period, about 10 percent of the traffic that sees your community promotion will visit your community area. Of this 10 percent, about 10 percent will register and participate in your forum. (Note: Most sites only require registration to post. Adding registration requirements will lower your participation rate.) It's critical to note that this indicator will vary based on several factors, such as the type and placement of your promotion. Also, the percentages tend to be lower for highly trafficked sites, such as major media destinations. Business-to-business communities by their nature attract smaller, more targeted audiences.

  • 5-to-10-posts-per-day-per-forum rule. To reach critical mass, visitors must feel that a community is vibrant enough to merit return visits. You need roughly 5 to 10 posts per day per forum to achieve this goal. In the early stages, either a core of fans or company employees may be needed to help get the community going. For a healthy community, there should be about 10 percent to 20 percent growth per month in the number of posts during the community's first year. Over time, this trend tends to flatten out.
Especially the last one appears to be the central problem of pretty much 90% of the efforts of online community building out there.

Geek Appointed as Director of Citizen Participation

And that's good news, another sign that eParticipation is ready for prime time. 

Hopes are raised today that's sort of citizen engagement is on its way to As first reported by MediaMemo's Peter Kafka, Google's Katie Jacobs Stanton will be joining the White House as the new Director of Citizen Participation, starting in March.

What's fascinating is that in bringing Stanton in-house, the Obama Administration is bringing in the mechanic to drive the car (or some less clunky phrase). Stanton, reports the TechChuck blog, was part of the team that brought to life Google Moderator. That's the tool that powered's Open for Questions. And during the presidential campaign, Stanton worked on the company's Elections and Moderator team. (via TechPresident)


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