Ocean.gov – A Modest Proposal

surfer and blue sea

Have you ever wondered why there’s no ocean.gov? This is a valuable and easy to remember URL that the government doesn’t currently use. And it should, for we all depend on the ocean for the very air we breathe.

When I was at NOAA, it was explained to me that there’s no web site at ocean.gov because no one agency or part of government “owns” the ocean. Lots of federal and state agencies have jurisdiction and interest in what goes on in the watery realm. Doing something with ocean.gov would require cooperation and agreement among the numerous governmental entities which all have a stake in the ocean. Creating ocean.gov would require a web manager with the patience of Job and the diplomatic skills of, well, I don’t know, to get all the various ocean-related partners on the same page. Which is why it’s never been done. Continue reading “Ocean.gov – A Modest Proposal”

Will Obama Empower Government 2.0?

There’s a really interesting article in the New York Times on how Obama tapped the power of social networks to fuel his run for the presidency.  Here’s the nut graph:

Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans. Continue reading “Will Obama Empower Government 2.0?”

Friday's Links

Here’s what interested me this week:

How to Shoot Events
I was an event photographer last night for Art-O-Sound at Artomatic.  (Pictures coming soon.)  This post had some good advice about taking photos without being a jerk.

Just a Govy
Getting government to adopt the social media tools that the rest of the world uses is really painful and difficult.  Allies from other agencies are needed.  Hence, I was thrilled to add Just a Govy to my blogroll.

.Gov Sites Should Focus on RSS, XML
The controversial ArsTechnica article that states that government web sites should ditch design and context and just serve up raw data in open formats. 

The Butterfly Pavillion
Go see this if you’re in DC!  Beautifully delicate butterflies fly all around, landing on shoulders, heads, everywhere.  You’re even checked on the way out to see if any errant butterflies are clinging to your clothes. 

Crowdsourced Film Festivals

Maybe because I’ve been reading Wikinomics, but the idea of a crowdsourced film festival really seems like a good one.

I’ve been a judge for the DC Shorts Film Festival.  Am I more of an expert than you are on short film? Possibly.  Am I more knowledgeable and astute than a vast crowd of film buffs?  No, of course not. When it comes to judging short films, festivals are limited by the number of judges that can be recruited who will actually show up to watch and review films on cold weeknights when you’d much rather stay at home and watch American Idol than sit through some 17-minute long experimental work on the depressing urban landscapes of Flint, Michigan.

So, I say, the more the merrier. I think people who will bother to go to a site, watch the films and then judge them will be pretty fair. They’ll also be motivated to go to the festival. After all, they helped program it! This is a great way of getting more attendees by making people feel a sense of ownership for their local festival.