My Remarks to Congressional Staffers Today

I’ve been invited to speak to two groups of Congressional staffers today. In about 30 mins, I’ll speak to Republican staffers at the Capitol Hill Club. Later today, at 1:30, I’ll be speaking to the Democrats in their Capitol Building office. The topic is Blogging, microblogging and social media and the event is hosted by NextGenWeb and the DCI Group.

These are my planned opening remarks:

First of all, I want to thank NextGenWeb and the DCI Group for inviting me to be with you today. I want to thank all of you for taking time out of your Friday morning to be here as well.
The U.S. Capitol at Night
We have a lot to talk about today because, frankly, the landscape of news, reporting, politics and effective organizing isn’t changing. It already has changed.

comScore, the metrics organization that measures website popularity and user engagement and leads the industry in much the same way that Nielsen has led the more traditional media rating media, reported that sites like Facebook and MySpace are owning over 100M unique visitors every month. Universal McCann, another measurement company, reports that 77% of active internet users read blogs.

Whether you agree or disagree with these numbers, and whether you like the trend or not, it is undeniable that the new media space has emerged. It is difficult to turn on your television without seeing personalities – and I do mean personalities – such as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow or CNN’s Rick Sanchez engaging their audiences with Twitter.

Up until recently, your own rules here in Congress have prevented you from effectively engaging the citizens on your districts, states and this country. You were hampered by antiquated rules that required separation of content from endorsements in the form of ads. I led the way in helping America see this, through my blog, public radio and conversation on and off the Hill. Though I cannot take full credit for any changes that have occurs, changes have still have occurred. Your House and Senate rules now allow you to utilize Twitter, YouTube and other social media avenues.

The news cycle is there and it’s different than it was before. In another lifetime, you played the game by talking to the press and hoping that they found interest in your cause. Now, you can go directly to the American people.

However, with much power comes much responsibility. Blogs have given us as citizens an expectation for engagement. For conversation. For exchange of information, ideas and transparency. Major media for the most part has not figured this out yet, and that is why more Americans get their news on the internet. There are, of course, exceptions. If you are to use this effectively, you will need to treat the internet, not as a faceless drop box where constituent mail comes from. Not as an anonymous voicemail box. Not as a nameless email inbox that sends an automated reply to the sender.

You must engage. You must converse. More importantly, you must listen.

Today, we’re going to talk about blogs, Twitter and new media. I hope that we can all learn from one another and build a better interaction platform for constituents. Thank you, again.

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Confirmed: Livingston Communications Acquired by Social Media Group

smglc.pngThere’s been a few rumors floating around the past few days and over the weekend. We can confirm that Livingston Communications, a boutique social PR firm based in the DC-area and owned by Geoff Livingston (also my cohost on The District of Corruption), has been acquired by Toronto-based Social Media Group headed by rockstar CEO Maggie Fox. The financial terms have not been disclosed.

Notably, as part of this acquisition, SMG is also acquiring the property rights for Blog Potomac driving those of us who are looking for community events free of Public Relations batty, and not in a Christian Bale sort of way.

Geoff will become the Executive Vice President, Americas for SMG and continue to run operations out of Washington D.C.

As a past frequent traveller, I can make recommendations for hotels in the Toronto area. I’m presuming, Geoff, you’ll be making many trips.

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Siguiendo la F1 (y otras noticias) con Twitter

Esta mañana fue el Gran Premio de Barcelona de la Formula 1 y qué mejor manera de seguirlo que a través de Twitter y la TV.

Twitter (una red social que permite compartir mensajes de texto rápida y públicamente) es la herramienta perfecta para seguir eventos en vivo y enterarse de los últimos acontecimientos. Con Twitter no sólo pude compartir comentarios sobre la carrera con mis amigos alrededor del mundo (cada uno viendo la carrera en su canal favorito), sino que usando herramientas como Summize podía mantenerme al tanto de los comentarios de otros usuarios que no están en mi red de Twitter.

Mientras ningún medio online había reportado todavía noticias sobre la condición del piloto Kovalainen -quién sufrió un accidente a alta velocidad – ya Twitter tenía la información al respecto. Y es que es mucho más rápido escribir una nota de 140 caracteres y ponerla en línea que actualizar un website de noticias y esperar que Google News lo incorpore a su índice.

Twitter pone a tu alcance una red de comentaristas distribuidos alrededor del mundo… 24 horas de noticias, al momento. Y con herramientas como Summize, ni siquiera necesitas una cuenta en Twitter para aprovecharla.

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