Tech & The District » Social Media Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 Redefining Innovation Tue, 01 Mar 2011 15:00:00 +0000 Ben Breit We tend to correlate innovation with factors that directly impact our economy: products invented, jobs created, money generated, etc. So when the MIT Technology Review released its annual list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies last week, few were surprised at the inclusion of usual suspects such as Google, IBM and Apple.

Still this year’s list is noteworthy in that it challenges us to develop our notion of what is truly innovative. If I were to tell you of a company that has earned no money, created no jobs, and is run mostly by part-time volunteers, you might not rush to put them it in the same breath as those aforementioned behemoths. Yet Ushahidi, an open source platform run out of Kenya, finds itself on MIT’s list while traditional and innovative giants like Verizon and Nintendo find themselves – at least for this year – on the outside looking in.

Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, spawned in the wake of the infamous and devastating post-election violence that ravaged Kenya in early 2008. Users could text or tweet to report incidents of violence they had personally witnessed. At Ushahidi headquarters, those communications translated to interactive maps tracking areas of the country where the violence was most prevalent. In turn, perpetrators were brought to justice and lives were saved.

Since then, Ushahidi has served a prominent role in disaster relief, most notably in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Survivors in need of immediate assistance utilized the platform to inform first responders where to direct relief. Since then, it’s branched out to other Third World countries to map instances of government oppression, voter fraud and tracking UN Aid effectiveness.

With every decisive international event that prominently features Ushahidi, we’re seeing first-hand that there are metrics other than earnings and jobs that define innovation. For Ushahidi, it’s lives saved. And you can’t put a price on that.

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Get Geeky! Thu, 24 Feb 2011 21:33:26 +0000 Lauren Wilson Last night I attended Social Media Club DC’s social networking event called “Get Geeky” at Porter Novelli’s offices.  On the panel were two past “Tech in 5” guests, Frank Gruber (Tech Cocktail) and Shana Glickfield (Partner at Beekeeper Group).  Shonali Burke, well known social media enthusiast, accompanied the panel and Alexander Howard (Govt 2.0 Correspondent for O’Reilly Media) served as the moderator. The discussion focused on how we can use our social networking tools for better networking.

Key Takeaways:

  • Humanize who you are through your tweets and blogs.
  • Use your image to build your personal brand.  The same profile photo should be used on all of your social networks.
  • Keep your online behavior online.
  • Distribute substantive content  on your social networks to gain credibility.

One of the things that I learned is that not everyone  wants to be a part of all your social networks, nor should they!  For example, if you’re connected with someone on Twitter, that person may not want to connect with you on Facebook.  If you have a business contact on LinkedIn, you may not want to expose that person to your more social  online personalities on Twitter and Facebook. These are key things that digital strategists should keep in mind when branding yourself online.

Did you have a chance to attend  last night’s event? If so, feel free to voice what you  learned in the comments section below!

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