chrishaller's blog

eParticipation - Electronic Participation of Citizens and the Business Community in eGovernment

Recently released: In 2007 the German Federal Ministry of the Interior has ordered a study ”eParticipation - Electronic Participation of Citizens and the Business Community in eGovernment”, to review current practices of eParticipation in Germany and generate recommendations for future activities. The results of the study have been presented to Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble in Mai 2008. The Study is now available in English and can be downloaded h­ere >>

Youtube Annotations with Hyperlinks

I've played around with Youtube's video annotation but not until recently did I discover that it actually allows users to include hyperlinks (why wouldn't it, duh?). In the meantime there are a couple of great examples where filmmakers have put together a series of short movies where the viewer decides the course of the story. The concept is obviously not new, but all of a sudden available to anybody and really taking 5min bite-size online video to a different level.

I really think this would be a great way to present information in civic engagement projects, where participants make trade-offs and see a different course of action depending on the choices they make. Will put a demo together shortly...

Text Messaging in Obama Campaign

I'm a subscriber of Barack Obama's text message alerts and have been impressed by how the campaign makes use of it so far. The messages usually alert subscribers to current events, like "Watch Barack speak from Berlin at approx 1pm ET. The speech will be live on CNN & streamed at Please fwd this msg.". The advantage of sms over email is clearly that it alerts or reminds subscribers immediately, while they might not check their emails until later. I was fascinated to hear the news that the campaign would first announce Obama's running mate via text message in order to grow their pool of subscribers. And even though it turned out the news was leaked by CNN first and the exclusivity of the hastingly created sms two hours afterwards was lost, the campaign now has more than 3 million text message subscribers (according to this source), which might prove to be helpful going into crunchtime. Read a more in-depth discussion about the edge that text messaging might give Barack Obama in the upcoming elections >>

Public Agenda's Community Conversation Process

Great roundup of the Community Conversation process in the Achieving the Dream initiative. 

A dialogue between people who share a planet?

The_New_York_Times___chevyI stumbled over a Chevy ad on the front page of the New York Times today, announcing a dialogue about alternative energy with the headline "We share a planet, why not share a dialogue".  While I appreciate the offer to talk openly about their alternative fuel efforts (and realize I have to do some more research about the seriousness of their efforts), I disagree with their choice of words. After navigating to the microsite, I had to realize all they offer is a Q&A section. The answers seem to be pretty open and address the issues, but technically a Q&A doesn't qualify as a dialogue:  Users can only submit questions, neither are they able to respond to the answer nor are other visitors able to leave their response to the answer or the initial question - Chevy has the final word!

Tips for text-to-screen campaigns

­Since we launched TextTheMob I'm keeping my eyes open for good case studies and best practices on how to use mobile technology to support eParticipation efforts. I recently discovered, a great network of practitioners that has put together a quick guide of How to Run a Text-to-Screen Campaign:

Text to screen can function as a unique way for advocacy groups to use interactive media to

  • build a database of mobile phone numbers for future use
  • show the opinions and demands of a constituency/the public to decision makers in a highly visible manner
  • generate media and public attention.
They follow with a case study, a good list of questions to ask yourself before starting and a step-by-step guide on how to set it up. A quick read, definitely worth your time if you're looking into utilizing mobile technology as part of your efforts.


Live Twittering from DrupalCamp Colorado

Last weekend I participated in DrupalCamp Colorado. Some very interesting presentations and amazing to see the Drupal community grow so fast.

I know I'm kind of late to the game, but I'm finally warming up to Twitter. So during the conference I started live twittering and I liked it. Does anyone care? I'm not convinced, but other participants discovered me and ended up being a discussion starter.

Also, Beth Kanter's thoughts and experiences with live twittering at conferences keep me thinking - there's something to it, even though I feel like it's not quite there yet.

An Introduction to Facebook Activism

facebook_guide_cover300pxDigiactive, a site devoted to digital activism, has released a guide called A DigiActive Introduction to Facebook Activism. It's a quick read with insights and case studies of how Facebook can be used for campaigns. Many of the tips are helpful for anyone looking to use Facebook to support their eParticipation efforts.

[via Beth Kanter's Blog

eParticipation Consultant at Public Agenda

I'm excited to announce that I recently started to work for Public Agenda as a consultant. I'm coming on board as a Public Engagement Associate and will help them identify online strategies to support their choicework approach.

The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy

One of the biggest takeaways from the fabulous book Groundswell - winning in a world transformed by social technologies, which I just finished reading, was the POST Method as a simple framework of how to approach social software:

Is your company [organization] doing its social strategy backwards?

If you started by saying "we should do a blog" or "we should create a page on a social network" or "we should create a community" the answer is probably yes.

post_method_2I've been there and am confronted with this approach pretty often in our work. Following the POST Method seems obvious, but it's important to re­mind ourselves frequently to go through the steps one after the other. Whether you're a customer care agent selling cheap airfare or an urban planner trying to capture citizen feedback online, the POST method gives you a simple tool to ­participate successfully on the social web:

P is People. Don't start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you're targeting college students, use social networks. If you're reaching out business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great  data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don't start without thinking about it.

O is objectives. Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

S is Strategy. Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you're done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint and you'll know where to begin.

T is Technology. A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

This may sound simple to the sophisticated readers of this blog. But it works. Try it. Think your strategy through. Even if you're just clarifying your own strategy, this should help you explain it to your boss.

You can find more information about the book and its authors on their blog >>

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