The unfortunate budget realities in the State of California prevented me from traveling to Washington, D.C. last weekend to attend Government 2.0 Camp, but that didn't stop me from participating!
Thanks to live tweeting, I was able to follow the event from the very beginning to the very end (and then beyond, as presentations, videos and pictures continue to be added). And although I would have much rather been there to meet the thought leaders in person and experience the rockstars in the flesh, I've discovered posts like this one from GovLoop that reinforce the idea that the wisdom of the crowd can be disseminated rapidly... and in real time.
I participated. I retweeted. I shared my activities - for the benefit of my local followers and co-workers who are interested in the newest developments in social media for government. I cheered on my fellow sub-council members as they presented an overview of the Social Media Subcouncil. And then I retweeted some more.
The nearest to real-time experience I had was the Ask the White House session with Macon Philips and Bev Godwin. The audience was asking questions of Macon and the whirlwind implementation of social media tools like "Open for Questions", an open source online tool that lets citizens ask the Obama Administration questions. (I imagined most people's jaws dropped when Macon told everyone it was implemented in only eight days). Then the conversation shifted to how to measure citizen engagement.
And others had inspiring and amazing things to share. From my fellow subcouncil member, Amanda Eamich. From Steve Radick. From Jeffrey Levy. From Mixtmedia (and again, urging participants to take advantage of the opportunity to present solutions and advocate their positions on social media). It was pretty amazing to observe the interaction and the desire this crowd has to be heard in such an open forum - all from 3,000 miles away and through Twitter.
I'm in no way advocating that monitoring a twitter stream is the same as being there, but it does speak volumes to the possibilities for equity and participatory engagement of citizens and small agencies who may not have resources to attend. It also reinforces a vision for a global community working together to solve the world's problems.
I leave you with the words of Jeffrey Levy (co-chair of the Social Media Subcouncil): "Misson! Tool! Metrics! Teach!"
Marilyn Clark is the Manager of Online Communications and Services for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and a member of the Social Media Subcouncil. You can connect with her on Twitter or GovLoop.