Technology Empowering U.S. Diplomacy and Development

Next Tech@State: Real-Time Awareness, Feb 3-4

The Office of eDiplomacy will host the next Tech@State on February 3-4, 2012 at George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium.  The topic of this conference is Real-Time Awareness. 


We will explore how to use social media to create real time awareness and the challenges that are associated with it.  We want to examine the strategies that are now being developed and implemented to comb through social media feeds, filter out the unneeded and unimportant data and analyze the remaining meaningful information in order to provide relevant information that is validated and verified.

We're interested in your input. 

  • What topics would you like to see discussed? 
  • Who are the experts we can invite to participate? 
  • Any articles or websites on real-time awareness that you recommend? 
  • How can we make the conference relevant to you and your work? 


Please comment below to share your ideas.

Views: 1074

Comment by Jenny Holm on November 1, 2011 at 4:42pm

How can small media outlets or media development projects internationally make use of these tools to analyze online conversations in their own countries?

Comment by John Lancaster on November 1, 2011 at 5:00pm

1. Waiting for administrators to confirm accounts creates a barrier for participation...  May a captcha would be better.


2.  Recommendation for speaker: Ryan Dahl, creator of Node.js, a realtime web application environment.

Comment by Rebecca Posey on November 2, 2011 at 1:06am

Clearly I am a huge nerd because I was super excited to have the opportunity to give input. I thought of three questions/topics:

1) How can we translate real-time awareness into meaningful action? That is, what is real-time awareness actually good for, and what tools are available to connect awareness with achievement at various levels up the policy chain?

2) Getting data in real time can be useful, but data is just noise until it's interpreted. I'd love to see a session that addresses the importance of understanding how to interpret real-time data in the context of society, political realities, history, etc.--especially when you're dealing with matters of state and security. 

3) How are public diplomacy and 'official' state-to-state diplomacy differently impacted by how we treat data? 'How we treat data' could include which things we choose to measure and not measure, and how transparent we are with the data we collect. What are the risks/benefits of transparency?


Re: speakers, anyone from the CDDRL at Stanford, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (publishes the SSIR), Ushahidi, Wired magazine or Fast Company writers, the CNN Freedom Project, the Not For Sale Campaign or their technology partner Juniper Networks, POMED, NED, DoD, intelligence, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, obviously...and the majority of speakers should be working outside the Beltline.


I'd love to hear more about how you all chose this topic and what significance you feel is attached to it. 


Thanks so much for sharing about this event and for asking for feedback! Keep up the innovation and outreach, and thank you for serving at State. :) 

Comment by Lorenzo Folco Costa on November 2, 2011 at 12:43pm

Thank you for sharing.

Semantic Web: could be one key for the noise management? (I am not expert neither about AI nor about Web 3.0 development; I just follow studies about Semantic Web because I would explore possibilities using semantic agents linked to AI in (RPG) games, one day).

Speakers: some Viral Marketing expert could be interesting to hear: who knows how to address viral marketing and advertising campaigns, _should_ knows which are the key factors: real-time awareness should be considered a sort of successful viral campaign.


Very interesting (and difficult :) subject.

thank you!

Comment by Christopher Conroy on November 3, 2011 at 9:59am

First name that comes to mind is Andy Carvin, from NPR, who was one of the major forces correlating and curating social media reports during the whole Arab Spring series of events.

As far as what should be covered. I highly recommend a good panel discussion or two on ethics, how to deal with information that changes, cultivating trusted sources, and dealing with critics/trolls/misinformation.

Comment by Jahangir Amir on November 3, 2011 at 3:23pm

How US can assist the news-makers (not the media owners) to contribute in a manner that it can create more transparency in the ecosystem, containing Government, Business and the Civil Society.

This might require setting up of Center for Investigative Journalism in transitional economies. Also a global media fund to promote online investigative journalism on corruption would be a great idea to support media as a watchdog in the society, looking after the interest of the people in a society. 

Comment by Azmat Malik on November 5, 2011 at 2:00pm

For farmers:

1: Weather forecasts (for everyday citizens: flood forecasts). 

2: Product price trends

3: Pest warnings


Emergency assistance information

Educational > information regarding celestial changes, eclipses, etc

Many have radios and-or TV, but not Computers or mobile phone data plans: Cell phone (data or audio) selection of preferences and broadcast/streaming on radio of the desired info at selected times.

(for the press club CEO from Pakistan: Sorry to hear about being labeled as 'all suspect'> but a few bad apples spoil it for the rest of us; not much can be done for the time being >> but perhaps a biometric verification just might do the job?) 

Comment by Lorenzo Folco Costa on November 7, 2011 at 9:51am

Re. this news:
"..FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test on November 9, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern..."

It would be interesting investigate how the 'from top' (like above) communication could be linked to 'from bottom/trasversal' communication (such as signals from social networks).

Where is their point of contact?
If the first acts only on a sort of 'status declared' (I guess), the second moves on a sort of escalation (or not) factor, in some case starting from few, isolated signals.

where are the critical nodes, where the key variables? Presence on site (or interaction users-countries / active users peaks) ? Which others?

Comment by Philip Ashlock on November 29, 2011 at 5:25pm

What topics would you like to see discussed?
Real-time awareness for:

  • Issue tracking and crisis response (911 & 311 type services thru social media)
  • Transit and Traffic
  • Election monitoring
  • Health, sanitation, epidemics
  • Food shortage, population stressors
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Crime tracking
  • On-the-ground team management & logistics

Who are the experts we can invite to participate?

The folks from:

  • Crisis Mappers, Ushahidi/SwiftRiver, Citivox, FixMyStreet, SeeClickFix (John Crowley / Patrick, Heather, et al / Oscar, Jorge, et al / Tom Steinberg / Ben Berkowitz)
  • Open311 (Myself and others) - realtime international standard for citizen issue reporting (the stuff above)
  • UN Global Pulse (Sara Farmer, Robert Kirkpatric, et al)
  • ThinkUp (Gina Trimpani et al) for sentiment analysis & much more
  • Roadify, Waze, OneBusAway/BusTime, FixMyTransport & others for transit (Scott Kolber, Di-Ann Eisnor, Brian Ferris, others)
  • Citizen Logistics - formerly Ground Crew (Joe Edelman)
  • Senseable Cities Lab at MIT (Assaf Biderman)
  • Urban Systems Collaborative - includes IBM, Cisco, ESRI, etc plus NGOs & Academia (Frank Hebbert, John Reinhardt, et al)


How can we make the conference relevant to you and your work?

Include coverage of open standards, open source, and collaboration.


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