j.j. toothman

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Category: Events (page 1 of 2)

Presentation: How To Use Open Source Techniques For Your Project Management Needs: Achieving Organizational Culture Change And Breaking Down Barriers Through Social Media Participation

Below is  a presentation I gave at the Social Media for Government conference in Washington, D.C. recently.

My talk tied what I’ve experienced participating with open source communities and how the attributes of the most successful open source communities can be applied to working within our institutions and enterprises to change stagnant working cultures.

GOSCON and Portland

I’m currently in Portland, Oregon attending the GOSCON conference where I gave a presentation titled “Open Source Community Principles for Organizational Change.”  The slides in my presentation can be found at the bottom of this post.  I’ve forgotten how wonderful a city Portland is.  I haven’t been here for about 13 years.  One of the things that makes it great is that Black Butte Porter can be found at draft everywhere.


A few thoughts on GOSCON

This is the best government tech conference I’ve attended so far.  The attendees are mostly people rolling up their sleeves and working Gov 2.0 and Open Gov issues.  There’s not a lot of need to do any convincing here.  Furthermore, the presentations are actually thought provoking and less along the lines of vendors pitching their solution.  Among the great conference content has been presentations about Civic Commons1

And the CONNECT project.  Which provides actual fiscal proof that Open Government and open source approaches can save taxpayer dollars.

And the food?  The food being served at GOSCON is ridiculously good.  I’m having a hard time thinking of conference that has server better food and used a more stylish venue than The Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

  1. Which I totally amazed by.  Expect a post or two on Civic Commons in the future. 

Speaking at GOSCON Next Week


Quick note to mention that I’m headed to Portland, Oregon next week to speak at GOSCON – The Government Open Source Conference.  GOSCON is non-profit conference designed for government IT management. This years program focuses on the role of open source software and collaboration enabling leading Open Government and Transparency initiatives throughout the US.

I’ll be giving a presentation titled “Open Source Community Principles and Organizational Culture Change” that will discuss how practices adopted by open source software communities can be used within government institutions to help change organizational cultures and generally disrupt the status quo.

If you’re at GOSCON, do make sure to introduce yourself and say “hi!”

2010 Social Media for Government Conference in Chicago

I’ll be the first to admit that I had my expectations set at a fairly nominal level for Advanced Learning Institute’s latest Social Media for Government event in Chicago this past week.  But it was really a wonderful time.  The smaller size of the event (approximately 50 people) really gave me a chance to make some deep connections with most of the attendees.  Additional ALI did a great job of adding value by facilitating networking time by organizing lunch and dinner outings.  The location didn’t hurt either.  Being across the John Hancock Building, 2 blocks from Michigan Ave and 4 blocks from the lakefront provided easy access to social fun.  Hillary Hartley and I actually rented bikes, rode along the lake, onto the Riverwalk, into the Frank Gehry infused Millennial Park to soak in an evening of Indian music and dancing in the park. 


Regarding the conference content, there was some great presentations and case studies shared

The city of Geneva, Illinois shared a true participatory government example in explaining how a Facebook Fan Page for Geneva, Illinois started by a high school junior … on his own time … became adopted by the city and established as the official Facebook Fan Page for the city.  Truly inspiring stuff.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin shined light on a court ruling about how access to Facebook profile pages of a government official is not required.1 Essentially, that means that government officials with Facebook profiles can still choose who to connect with on Facebook.  And that means, that social media jerks can still be left on the outside. 

“Social scientists.”  A term used by John Ohab – the man behind Armed With Science – to describe the type of person that social media practicers are:  one part web-savvy technologist and one part communications expert.  I like that term and imagine myself making use of it in the future.

But many challenges and unanswered questions remain. Including the typical ones surrounding culture change (or lack of) to embrace these new tools.  While everyone in the room understood how the risks of social media tools are no different than the risks faced by organizations when introducing email and telephones into their operations, evidence of how to properly make that case so that stakeholders grasp the message remains an ongoing exercise of experimentation

In fact, I was stunned by the number of people – who were sent to this conference with the task and action item to develop tactical strategies of social media use in their organizations – face blockers in their workplace preventing them from using these tools.  That’s right.  Access to sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube is blocked at the firewall level.    Craaaaaazy.

My presentation was a case study of the Ames Spotlight blog project I worked on in 2007.  Within that case study, I discussed how open source solutions and community practices are tools in efforts of social media adoption within government institutions.  While my presentation wasn’t designed to stand on its own (its mostly a slideshow of photos) it is embedded below.


  1. I searched the interwebs for a link about this, but haven’t found one.  I’ll be following with the presenter to see if there is something on the web to point to. 

Speaking at the Social Media for Government Conference in Chicago this week

Probably should have mentioned this previously, but this week I’ll be speaking at the Social Media for Government Conference in Chicago.  I’ll be providing a case study on the WordPress blog I created for NASA Ames Research Center in 2007 (screenshot of that is below), including all the cultural, process, and legal barriers the team encountered along the way.1  But I’ll also be speaking about the value of open source community principles as a change agent within government agencies and bureaucracies – a topic I’ll be zeroing in on even more during a talk I’m giving next month at the GOSCON conference in Portland, Oregon.


Ames center.arc.nasa.gov blog screenshot built with WordPress

  1. This is a case study I’ve been wanting to share for a few years.  

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