04/21/2005 Meeting Notes

Posted by Erica, 4/21/05 at 6:42:36 PM.
04/14/2005 Meeting Notes

These notes are a best effort.

Blog your corrections and commentary.

Attendees:

  • AW: Amanda Watlington
  • AH: Ann House
  • BS: Brett Stilwell
  • DO: Dermott O’Rourke
  • EG: Erica George
  • JT: John Tobin
  • LB: Lynne Baer – just long enough to feed us sugary things
  • MD: Madhu Dahiya
  • MW: Mal Watlington
  • MF: Michael Feldman

  • MW: Mike Walsh
  • SR: Shimon Rura
  • SG: Steve Garfield
  • WK: Wendy Koslow
  • NOTE: Until most way through the meeting I totally forgot to distinguish between MW’s (Mal and Mike). So most MW comments could be either one. Sorry!

Audio!!!!!!

Proposed agenda:

  • Blogging 101
    • MF: wiki got trashed but is cleaned up now
    • MF: send ideas for the permanent home website to Michael
    • MF: we have some content, holes still to fill, but enough to start with
    • MF: pre-meeting next week at 6:30 before the main meeting
  • Boston City Councillor John Tobin
    • JT: 4th year on city council
    • JT: inspired by late Congressman Moakley’s office hours with constituents in his district. JT made pledge to do weekly office hours himself. (This in addition to normal meetings w/neighborhood groups etc.)
    • JT: Met SG during office hours, SG got JT interested in blogging. Steve suggested doing a videoblog on JT’s site. JT was looking for a way to be new & different, way to have dynamic content. JT doesn’t think any other elected officials are doing vlogging on a regular basis. They’re still getting used to doing it.
    • JT: Purpose here tonight: meet us, get our feedback
    • SG: Why we chose Blogware: great with categories, has features like integrated forms (allows them a “join now” button), blogware allows a static web page that’s not a blog post to be created, so lets them have some static content too (ie “donate” page). Makes it easy for SG to do all developing within the blogging platform.
    • AM: How are you doing localization into Spanish?
    • SG: Babelfish
    • MF: You may want to get at least the static pages translated by a native speaker, cos Babelfish is noncontextual/non-syntax-aware
    • MW: What’s the reach of this blog? What percent of your constituents do you think can / will keep up with this?
    • JT: I hear that even some state legislators, even non-Bostonian, keep up with it. Some papers have picked it up, Globe will have it on Sunday. Also it’s tying in with the campaign to make Boston a wireless city. I’m friends with George who’s doing the Cyberarts Fest and he’s who got me into wifi. The wifi issue became very hot very fast, exploded in the Globe, public, businesses.
    • JT: May 19 at Museum of Science: summit on becoming a wireless city, benefits & obstacles, lessons to learn from other cities.
    • JT: wifi issue brings many people together. a way to bridge the digital divide.
    • MF: Like the interstate highway system – a public utility.
    • MF: You’ve got to invest yourself if you want to be a successful blogger. Is it enough to hire someone to blog for you? Your consitutents want to get to know you as a person. Write on your site about what it’s like in city council, the day-to-day.
    • AW: I’m interested in the decision-making process you personally go through. Constituents often don’t realize what the tensions are that affect decisions.
    • MW: This may be designed for one district, but it has broad reach.
    • JT: Definitely. The issues I focus on in the committees I’m on have very broad importance – education, the arts etc.
    • AW: how create awareness of the blog?
    • JT: We’ve had the URL and used it as static site for a few years. It’s featured in all our literature, on emails from campaign, etc. Any other suggestions for how to get it known?
    • MW: Further the conversation. What other opportunities for interaction besides joining, donating?
    • JT: We have several regular commenters.
    • SG: Commenting is an easy way for constituents to make small suggestions etc.
    • JT: The better we do at this, it forces other elected officials to start doing this too. Filling a constituent need.
    • MalW: idea: highlight comments that you reply to
    • MF: reply to people’s comments- show them that you respond, more than just one on one replying you already do
    • MF: would be nice to capture some conversation between commenters, get dialogue going in the comments
    • MikeW: capture logs – when you take action in response to a constituent issue, post about it on the blog – proactively. Say, “I got 400 calls on topic X and most of you want me to do Y. Here’s what I’m doing about it.”
    • MF: more younger people more comfortable with email. Also, tie in to wifi. When ppl log in to wifi make default portal the city council page, with links to blogs by officials etc.
    • AW: when you see the amouint of interest in an issue and publicize that, helps you gain support from other more traditional-method politicians.
    • MF: instant polls
    • MikeW: Boston Foundation has metrics by neighborhood. Link to those from static pages – detailed census of neighborhoods.
    • JT: Boston Fdtn is what gave the grant for the wifi study
    • WK: have you got questions for us as bloggers?
    • EG: suggestion box – public forum not just “contact us”
    • WK: ask the orgs you link to to link to you
    • AW: wifi issue – post locations within your district that have wifi free already
    • AW: what was your goal setting this up?
    • JT: to conenct with constituents
    • AW: Has it achieved what you wanted? I think it’s very cool, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while
    • JT: I know there’s a lot more we could be doing, though, so I’m really grateful for the feedback.
    • SG: We have people register to be able to leave a comment. This kills spam but must mean we get fewer comments
    • Several: risk the spam, monitor after the fact
    • JT: As public official, afraid of someone putting something offensive
    • BS: But someone could register with a fake address too, it’s just a little bit of extra effort
    • WK: Blogware hasn’t got moderated comments yet, but it’s on the on-the-way feature list.
    • AW: put visible link to commenting policy at point where people are actually leaving comments
    • MF: auto-respond script to suggestion box to show their suggestion is received
    • We watch a recent video from the vlog – John talking to an opening-season kickoff for the JP Broncos, kids’ baseball league.
    • SG: I transcribe parts of what JT says in vlog posts to posts will be found in search engines.
    • SG: we got a comment today – person liked the end of video, showing JT talking to constituent in natural environment. Tension between capturing this kind of moment and ruining the natural environment of a consituent’s conversation with JT.
    • SR: people more willing to be filmed when interacting in groups
    • AW: maybe label some office hours as “meet and greet” to facilitate those group interactions
    • MalW: look for the conversations on the sidelines at other events – when the camera is less noticeable anyway.
    • JT: Thanks so much for feedback. After we’ve made changes, can we come back in a few months to talk again?
    • group: yes!
    • JT: Museum of Science May 19, wifi summit! Yes, there will be wifi at the event.
    • SG: click on wireless internet link on JT’s blog sidebar.
  • Well wishes for Gregory
    • He’s got new lungs, yay!
  • Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia speaks Tuesday, April 26, at 8:30 pm
  • Getting the Wikinews folks to return
  • Boston Cyberarts Festival
  • Group blogging outing: performer auditions at Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall Saturday and Sunday
    • Apple Crisp, a really cool band with a vibraphone, is playing at noon on Sunday. j might go. Any other takers? There might be guerilla contradancing …
  • Social outing: Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie
    • Brett: It comes out on the 29th. We’ll see if it comes to Harvard Square. We’d go either after a Thursday meeting, or after a meetup, or ???
  • What else?
  • Eat

    • Penang
    • Smile Thai again last week
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