Web 2.0 Blog – Discovering Innovation Opportunities using Social Media

How to make websites and widgets interactive: A Bar Camp Report

Posted on: March 3, 2008

E-Democracy.org Bar Camp

We cosponsored and attended a Bar Camp on E-Democracy this weekend. The unconference style meeting was fun and provocative. The issues in political messaging are very similar to the issues in public interest messaging especially from the design and development point of view.

I was very interested in the vast amount of information sunlightfoundation.com has made available through several websites. Opencongress.org, Congresspedia.org and OpenSecrets.org are just a few. Check out sunlightfoundation.com/resources.

Tom Steinberg the Mysociey.org were also very interesting in their work in the UK bringing individual voices to government issues.

Other interesting projects talked about were E-Democracy.Org, PolicyCommons.org, AmericaSpeaks.org, Democracybeginsathome.org, LinkTank.com, Debatepedia.org, DeepDebate.org (guys let me know if I forgot anybody).

Our discussion on interactive messaging at E-democracy camp identified a list of important aspects of an interactive campaign can be generally applied to interactive messaging.


  • Set clear goals both in terms of numberS and depth of response.
  • Design viral methods to spread the interactive message.
  • Integrate with the overall communication process. (press, website, ads)
  • Design separate communicable methods to update influencers.
  • Understand what is important to the audience.

Interactive Content

  • Relevant to the individual.
  • Flexible based on feedback.
  • Continued over time. Don’t just disappear.
  • Show the impact of the interaction.
  • Respond to feedback in a human voice.
  • Use conversational and everyday speach.
  • Allow updating to keep the content fresh.
  • Allow updating to keep the content fresh.
  • Be sure to address negatives in feedback immediately.
  • Followup individually with highly interested audience members to offer them additional tools roles, or information.


  • Identify bloggers and websites which address aspects of your message.
  • Customized to address leaders and follows concerns.
  • Show that you are listening.
  • Identify self organized groups whose message matches yours and talk with them.
  • Crosslink the communities and forums which have your message.
  • Plan for lades to participate in getting feedback.
  • Spreading should be through trusted contacts.
  • Be open to teed back through indirect channels.


  • Geographical and demographic measurements.
  • Deeper measurements than just email list county and hits.


  • Keep engaged with audience members who showed interest.

3 Responses to "How to make websites and widgets interactive: A Bar Camp Report"

Ken, thanks for coming and thanks very much for sponsoring!

Good summary, thanks. I was impressed by the variety of governance-related experiments going on. Several were to support transparency, several for group discussion/decision-making, some for data sharing, etc. Lots of different kinds of opportunities.

[…] Widget – A mini application that performs a specific function and connects to the Internet […]

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