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Digital Diplomacy, 4 years and now change.

Wow. There is a sea change happening in the Middle East. The 2013 Iranian Election will mark the end of one cycle, and the beginning of another. What a long path to this point.

The cycle ending is the cycle of the first few revolutions/civil wars and government overthrows that happened in full view of, and in part due to social media. The one beginning is going to become the post-social media middle east. One where the power of the people, won out, country after country.

Just a brief history.

In the late spring and early summer of 2009, Iran was in the throes of pre-election frenzy. There was a moderate trying to overthrow the conservative leadership through peaceful, democratic means. But it turned bad, and turned bad fast. The Green Revolution as it was called, inspired people to great heights of hope and also tremendous depths of despair that resulted from the horrific human rights abuses, torture, death, kidnappings, rapes, that were committed by the Iranian Government and it’s religious and civil allies to prevent the Green Revolution from succeeding.

I documented this struggle of the Green Revolution on Twitter, on Facebook and on You2Gov which was the website I had started in 2008 and which we put into hiatus in 2010. Here is the twitter history. In fact it was this period with the efforts I and many others did to document the digital, social history; and to learn from it that was one of the reasons I started “Gov20LA” in the first place. People’s voices need to be heard. In a good and positive way that allows everyone, those in government and those outside to feel comfortable making changes. Changes have to come from multiple parts of society not just one. But this has to be in moderation.

Since then we have seen the Occupy movements spring up in cities around the world. We have seen Tunisia, and Egypt fall with in the same week almost in 2011. I talked about this at the opening of Gov 2.0 L.A in 2011. We actually did a “Digital Diplomacy Panel” at the 2011 Gov20LA event. In part the exploding use of social media and mobile technology was openly discussed in a live stream during that panel.

Now, we see Turkey struggling with their own version of the “Arab Spring” that many people are referring to as #OccupyGezi on Twitter and other social media. Syria and Russia are going through massive social change again, with Syria in middle of a bloody and growing civil war; and Russia moving to limit rights of protestors, and curtailing free speech more and more.

But four years after the Green Revolution, the people of Iran have delivered a surprise to the world. A moderate. With none of the bloodshed or violence of the Green Revolution from four years ago. This time around #Iranelection is a positive hashtag with huge meaning. No longer meaning death, torture.

I think it is time for Syria, Turkey, Russia to pay attention and start making changes now. Because clearly, the power of the people when amplified by social media and mobility, is world changing power. Power in the hands of the people.

You Have Been De-centralized!

There is temporary bi-partisan outrage at the recent revelations about PRISM and BARNEY and other strangely named programs. Rightfully so. Perhaps it is time for a new version of the Church Commission. The Digital Version. The last time I believe we have seen this type of temporary bipartisanship in the nation’s capitol was actually right after the tragedy of 9.11. So let us unite in a great cause then. Preserving our democracy.

Governments around the world are kind of missing the point. The point is not that they can siphon off our digital lives and chew on the digital breadcrumbs we all leave behind. The point is not that they are spying on us. That part should have been pretty obvious to anyone paying attention to Democracy since the Patriot Act was first written, then edited and updated and added to and continually re-authorized. But don’t kid yourself. This is not new.

The point is: The world has become de-centralized. Your life is decentralized in ways you could not have imagined even 10 years ago. You carry the power of what was the world’s most powerful computer 20 years ago in your pocket now. What used to take the resources of a government agency or large commercial entity can now be done by the crowd-sourcing of your life. You want the best new restaurant in town? Ask your friends on facebook. Need to get instant feedback on something? Tweet it. Want people to do a deep dive on something or really read it? Post it on Google+ or blog it. The point is. That we all can access information about anyone, anytime, almost as simply as by asking.

Technology has just rapidly increased the capabilities and speed of something that in one form or another has been going on for centuries. Governments have long spied on mail sent through postal services. The telegraph and telephone scaled that into a more real time (sort of) methodology. Now we have satellites, digital transmissions and our knowledge skills and access to powerful technology on a scale never seen in human history before. So governments are spying. So are big businesses. Every time you fill out a form online, or submit a sweepstakes entry, or use your credit card, or phone, or email, or go online, or drive your GPS enabled car.

Who then is really Big Brother? Governments around the world using spy gear and deep packet inspections to virtually rape your online life, or the corporations doing the exact same things, and or worse? Welcome to the future. Your future decentralized life. It is here now. Complete with two big brothers. Governments and Corporations.

gov20lalogo

Preview of Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 From Twitter.

Register for Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 on Eventbrite

[View the story "Preview of Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 From Twitter." on Storify]

Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 is almost here.

As the founder of @Gov20la “Gov20LA” as it is referred to, I could not be more excited and proud. As the event gets ready to head into our fourth annual one; we are getting ready to make history, break some trendlines, and lead the dialog for another year.

But before discussing the amazing people who will be speaking I would like to highlight a major achievement of Gov 2.0 L.A.:

Since our first event in 2010, we have created and enabled an environment around building our speakers base as one that represents our society. So we have 50 percent female speakers and 50 percent male speakers. This is a critical achievement and comes at a critical time when this very issue is the subject of TV, Radio and written debate. Just recently there was an article by Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer) in the Harvard Business Review, with one of the salient points being made is that LESS than 20% of all conference speakers and panelists are Female. Less than 20%.

So Gov20LA is proud, as am I, to be able to say that we have beaten this particular national average and beaten it solidly. I continue to ensure that the speakers split for Gov20LA is evenly split between men and women, and did so because it is the right thing to do, not because we thought that in four years everyone would be talking about it. But that is what has now happened.

Gov20LA 2013 is going to rock! I could not be more excited about the powerful collection of women and men who will be speaking,

[View the story "2013 Speakers for Gov 2.0 L.A. " on Storify]

Thank you! We look forward to seeing you in person and in our live stream on April 20, 2013.

Alan W. Silberberg, Founder, Gov 2.0 L.A.

Look Back at Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012

It Was Amazing. Thank you to all who made Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012 a success for the 3rd year in a row. We had over 44,000 people participate in our livestream of the event from at least 19 countries.

A huge Thank You goes out to Callfire, Citysourced, Rockcreek Strategic Marketing, Davenport Institute, TechZulu, for sponsoring and making this event happen.

All of the videos will soon be posted on to our Vimeo Page at http://www.vimeo.com/gov20la and additionally we will be posting the presentations shortly as well.

Enjoy this Storify post about the various tweets, photos, blogs, etc coming out of this event.

[View the story "Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012 in Tweets, Pictures, Blogs" on Storify]

Rocking Citizen Power in 2012.

As the 3rd annual Gov 2.0 L.A. (Gov20LA) approaches on April 21, 2012; I have been thinking a lot about why I started this conference and what it means for you, for me and for our futures. A few years back I wrote this piece “What is Gov20LA All About?”

In the 3 years since we have seen huge growth in social media, cloud computing, mobile technologies and the subsequent explosion of citizen involvement with our governments. This has caused all kinds of situations, good and bad. On the good we are seeing country after country begin to adopt open data and transparent aspects to their internal and external operations. We have seen citizens empowered to use their voice, many for the first time ever. We have witnessed several countries fall to “soft power” of people organizing, and then acting on the organization to effect change of a type we have never seen in our collective human history. On the bad, we are seeing totalitarian governments around the world cling to these new technologies and indeed even the people’s response to them; to crack down, imprison people, kill people and break up organized groups.

I have written in the past about the two headed side of #gov20 and social media in general with regard to Governments and the people who interact with them. This dichotomy is growing, not abating. We see people using technologies to force change yet at same time we are witnessing governments around the world investigate the same technologies to prevent change.

Gov20LA was created to act as a forum to collect the best and brightest people and their ideas and enable them to tell the world their stories. The idea has always been to empower people through learning about the cutting edge applications of technology in government and by the companies servicing them. We feel that by letting you see the speakers in a casual, yet live setting online – we all can learn from the human conversation and dialogue.

Technology is great, solves lots of problems and saves money when properly applied. The problem with most technology conferences and events is they are too jargon laden and usually do not encourage open dialogue with the speakers. We do the opposite. We want the dialogue. We want our speakers interacting both with the live audience in the room and the global Internet TV audience. So we have created an open environment, with some truly amazing people from inside and outside government leading the dialogue.

I am personally so humbled and excited by the continued awesome response Gov20LA receives worldwide. I can’t wait for this year. Join me. Thank you.

Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012 Confirmed Speakers

www.gov20la.com

The speaker list for Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012 is out:

@nigelcameron Nigel Cameron
thinking | speaking | tweeting | blogging || future | tech | policy | values || c-pet.org | nigelcameron.org ||

@Jon_Ferrara Jon Ferrara #sCRM
Pioneer; creator of CRM solutions, CEO – Nimble.com, Founder of GoldMine. Interests; Social Business, Customer Lifecycle, Acquisition, Enchantment; Retention.

@JeanneHolm Jeanne Holm
Evangelist, Data.gov; Chief Knowledge Architect at NASA/JPL

@acc_cto Bill Marion
Chief Technology Officer; Former AFCEA President; Unified Comms driver; Cyber, Intel; Missions Systems Expertise; Vision for Kinect, Mobile, and leadership.

@AndrewNebus Andrew Nebus
Background in technology development, command and control systems, government records, and infosec with a passion for Gov 2.0

@craignewmark craignewmark
customer service rep & founder for craigslist; craigconnects

@lewisshepherd Lewis Shepherd
Live in Virginia, work in DC and Redmond, play on the web. Director of Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments.

@JulianneShinto Julianne Shinto
CEO, Imprimpatur, Co-Founder Twain Group. Presidential Candidate Surge Adviser, Micro Gesture Training. Elections. Politics.

@alanwsilberberg Alan W Silberberg
CEO, Founder, Silberberg Innovations, Gov 2.0 L.A. Twain Group. Dad. Innovator and tech consumer.

[View the story "Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012 Confirmed Speakers" on Storify]

http://twitter.com/?list_id=gov20la-2012-speakers#!/IdeaGov/gov20la-2012-speakers/members

CLICK BELOW TO REGISTER FOR OR SPONSOR THE APRIL 21, 2012:

Register for Gov 2.0 L.A. 2012 on Eventbrite

Gov 2.0 L.A. Sponsorships and Tickets Available now

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting both sponsorships and ticket sales for Gov 2.0 L.A 2012, April 21, 2012. The complete list of confirmed speakers will be announced within a few weeks.

We have three levels of sponsorship, platinum, gold and silver. Individual tickets are priced at $75.00 which includes lunch and ensures an accurate head count. All sponsorship levels include some tickets and marketing and branding opportunities that vary per sponsorship levels. As in the past years, this event is user generated, both in terms of sponsorships and content. We rely on your sponsorships and ticket purchases to provide continuous live stream, HD videos and interaction from the internet before and during the event on a global scale. Gov 2.0 LA would not exist without your continued help and support.

Thank you, and use the link below to choose how many tickets or what level of sponsorship you want, and the checkout process is quite easily done.

Please go to Gov20LA and do it there:

THANK YOU AND SEE YOU IN APRIL!

internet as seen through candles

Gov 2.0 Listening in 5 World Capitals.

Change is here. It is happening everywhere. I have been fortunate in the last few months to speak and also do a tremendous amount of listening and asking pertinent questions of minister level officials in 5 national capitals, on 4 continents. The pace of change in government use and implementation of social media, gov 2.0, open gov, egov and various other monikers is extremely rapid, in some countries it is breakneck.

But still the old bogeyman is hanging around. Fear. I have written about the role Fear plays in the gov 2.0 and open gov discussions around the world, but this recent world tour just confirms that fear is still the largest inhibitor to successful implementation of new plans, and actually stops some excellent programs right in their tracks. I have personally witnessed the role fear plays with minister level officials down to low level staffers as well as with political functionaries in multiple countries. I have been in meetings just this year where fear is so palpable in the room; that literally nothing gets done with the exception of voices being raised in anger or out of frustration.

That being said, there are also tremendous advances being made – both those that have been officially sanctioned and budgeted and those where courageous government workers are sticking their necks out to test, take chances and experiment. More and more it is less the top down movements and more the individual workers who are making the real changes. Because a shift in acceptance of a new role; of a new place in the workplace is well underway.

But besides fear, economic concerns are also hitting this movement, both positively and negatively. In USA budgetary crisis are causing ripples up and down the Gov 2.0 movement as it is called here. But at the same time the budget crisis globally is refocusing anew the issue of legacy system investment versus investment in new technologies that are often more cost effective and much more efficient.
So pretty soon we will be crossing the chasm of decision making from supporting older legacy systems and protocols with the need to be competitive on a data basis in an increasingly competitive and real time 24/7 world.

The time to make decisions about abandoning old legacy systems with a sunk investment versus the new-found results and applications available for cheaper alternatives is upon our society, and much like Y2K there is at least partially a ticking clock. This time it is how long will current systems last before not being able to operate in a new world?

In Europe which is also facing severe economic contractions, the funding for these programs is in fact increasing for now, but that may change if the EU financial situation continues to get worse. Additionally, certain European countries need to make a mind shift from cyber space equaling protection of assets versus cyber space being a multilateral space where protections of freedoms are just as important.

Australia is committing funding and new initiatives that will drive the adoption of these practices, including the NBN (national broadband network) which will effectively wire most of the continent to be able to implement egov and open gov quickly.

Canada is struggling with funding issues and a perceived innovation gap – but at the same time it actively encouraging the open gov coalition and just recently announced a new web standards policy and it is clear that there are some powerful ministers and ministries looking to adopt egov and open gov sooner than later.

The UK is getting ready to reveal its next new initiative “GovUK” currently in Alpha, getting ready to be launched in Beta, which will serve a government wide portal along the lines of Govusa, but with a much more direct call to action and a major change in how UK gov websites will be run and maintained in the near coming future.

Russia has a small but extremely active egov movement, and there are surprising strides coming out of Russia, including a gov 2.0 proponent now running for the Duma on an open gov platform. But given Russia’s history of top down management of its people and government, the egov movement in Russia struggles against the state dominated ownership and manipulation of both the media, and the infrastructure necessary to provide open gov, like ISP’s government maintained choking of internet access and the ability to shut off the internet from the people in a very dramatic fashion.

What I have learned mostly though, is that the breakneck pace of change that has been rattling the government and e-government spaces since 2008 is having real results globally. I will leave it to others to pick apart my statements or point to specific case studies. But reality is social, mobile, cloud are here and have forever changed how governments interact with themselves and with us.

As published on Silberberg Innovations

Fear of change brought on by sudden onslaught of #gov20

My business partner and I were in meetings this week with a government agency dealing with sudden onslaught of “Gov 2.0.” Deja Vu. It came full blast this week from the year 2008. We might as well have been in an episode of the TV show “Fear Factor” as at some points fear was the major chasm to be crossed in the room.

Government 2.0 initiatives have been in full force since late 2009, early 2010. In 2008, however, the U.S. Government had not yet passed the Open Government Directive or the Joint Chiefs of Staff Open Source memo milestones. Officials were scared of change. Social media was a big angry beast that was not understood, not clearly developed in a government sense and something just to shy away from.

But we have moved to a point where major federal agencies not only have printed and published guidelines and existing working programs – but we are witnessing global cooperation on the Government 2.0 stage and collaboration is now fostering success. In late September of 2011 there will be a meeting of over 20 countries dedicated to Open Government and Government 2.0 around the globe. This is an exciting time for people like myself, advocating, pushing, pulling and even getting yelled at to accomplish change.

But still fear lingers, its wraith like fingers coming in the dead of night, or in the depth of a boardroom on a sunny day. Social media has its heroes and demons alike that is clear. But mobility, social connectivity and the desire for more transparency and openness create strange bedfellows. Just when an agency indicates a real need for Gov 2.0 – someone inevitably throws cold water. Sometimes freezing cold water, but still the movement continues, and the forward progression of the adoption of a new way of business for government continues uni-directionally.

My solution for fear based discussions about Gov 2.0? Look around. See all the successful implementations of open data, of social connectivity for Government and Citizens alike and see the results. It is not hard to find an example of government agencies adopting various parts of this big picture. Just ask your local fire department how they are using location based services. Or ask your local police department how they monitor social media for evidence of crimes. Look at the military using social media in offensive, defensive methods as well as for recruiting and publicity. Look at how the FBI regularly uses social media to tell the story about what they do. Look at the State Department’s continual innovations in new uses of mobility and social media. That is how your agency overcomes fear brought on by a sudden onslaught of Gov 2.0.