Watch the Seattle Channel’s elections coverage and remember to vote by Tuesday, November 6

This is the first Presidential Election that King County has voted all by mail. Voters are reminded to turn ballots into ballot drop boxes before 8 pm on November 6 or make sure the ballot is postmarked November 6 or earlier.

If you’re a new voter and you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. New voters can register in person until Oct 29. Here’s how:  http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/registration.aspx

Registered voters should receive ballots no later than October 23. Track your ballot packet and get questions answered at http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections.aspx.

The Seattle Channel has covered the election during the last few weeks, and a roundup of the video election coverage can be found below:

 Don’t forget to vote on or before Nov. 6!

Evergreen Apps Challenge winners announced

Over $75,000 in prizes was awarded in the Evergreen Apps Challenge on October 1 at Seattle City Hall. See the list of winners and try out their apps at http://www.evergreenapps.org/congratulations-to-the-winners-of-the-evergreen-apps-challenge/

Entries were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, including Francis Benjamin, of Washington State University; Adam Gentz, of BizXchange; Mónica Guzmán, of Geekwire; Susannah Malarkey, Executive Director of the Technology Alliance; Manny Medina, CEO of GroupTalent; Jason Preston, co-founder of Dent the Future; and Bill Schrier, Deputy Director of the Center for Digital Government.

Read what judge Monica Guzman had to say in her Seattle Times blog at  http://blogs.seattletimes.com/monica-guzman/2012/10/02/living-voters-guide-whichbus-win-top-honors-in-state-app-contest/#.UGtfv6ts8hM.twitter

The apps were assessed against a range of criteria including innovation, user experience and design, potential impact on Washington State, King County, and/or Seattle residents, visitors and businesses. They also had to be available for public use for the next year.

More than 100 people joined dignataries at the awards event, which  included Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (via video).

Startup Weekend Gov a success

Over the April 26-28 weekend, some 120 developers, entrepreneurs and mentors from the public and private sectors participated in the first-ever Startup Weekend Government.  They worked for 54 hours nearly non-stop at City Hall to create apps that use open data from Seattle, King County and Washington State. Sol Villareal wrote a great account of it on the Mayor’s Blog: http://bit.ly/IVTNvI. Check out the winning apps.

Grant available to engage communities & neighborhoods using online technology!

Background

The Online Boost Project was developed in response to what we learned from the Seattle Communities Online assessment and presentations at Neighborhood District Council and community group meetings. Neighborhood groups want to build their capacity to do effective outreach online, maintain their content, foster online engagement and use City widgets and tools.

We are looking for up to 15 projects who will receive up to $1000 in matching funds and will also participate in workshops with experts in using social media. Our goal is to boost their capacity through a project that takes them 3 months or less to complete. This is a one-time initiative and not something we’re currently able to commit to on an ongoing basis.  This program is administered by Community Technology Program of the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology (DoIT).

Program Goals

The Online Boost Project is designed to enhance skills and proficiency on the use of online resources for community groups with workshops, mentorship and seed funding to implement and/or increase their web presence. In coordination with the Seattle Communities Online initiative, we are seeking opportunities to enhance:

  • Increased awareness of community issues;
  • Increased community participation in problem solving; and
  • Increased interaction with government.

Online Boost grantees will have access to:

  • Up to $1000 mini-grants for a quick, specific project to be completed within 3 months.
  • Workshop (required in order to receive funding) where participants would leave the workshop knowing what resources are out there, what their plan of action will be, and how to go about implementing.
  • Mentorship and networking opportunities

The deadline is Tuesday, July 12 at midnight. The application is submitted online and all interested groups must register ahead of time in order to access the application.  You can register at: http://webgrants.seattle.gov.  If you have already registered for another grant with the City, you can log in with your user ID and password and select “Funding Opportunities” and then “Online Boost Grant.”

For help and resources visit the Online Boost Project at http://www.seattle.gov/seattlecommunitiesonline/boost.htm.

For in-person help please contact:

Amy Hirotaka, amy.hirotaka@seattle.gov, by phone at 206-733-9445; or

Vicky Yuki, vicky.yuki@seattle.gov, by phone at 206-233-7877.

Twitter releases “10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010″

Yesterday, Twitter released its list of the ten most powerful tweets of 2010.  The chosen tweets, according to the Twitter Blog, “represent the dynamic ways that people use Twitter in the political world, for disaster relief, and to add commentary to news events, sports and entertainment.”

Some might wonder how Ann Curry, an NBC reporter tweeting a plea to the US Air Force to allow Doctors Without Borders to land their plane in Haiti after the earthquake, instigated any real action.  According to the Smart Blog on Social Media, the story began when Curry saw a tweet from Doctors Without Borders about their frustrating inability to land in Haiti.  This caught her attention, and not only did she tweet about the problem herself, she was able to contact Pentagon officials and solve the problem.

Interestingly, Doctors Without Borders also issued a press release about the problem.  But it was a humble little tweet, less than 140 characters in length, that got the attention of those who actually took action.

Many local governments and agencies, the City of Seattle included, are increasing their use of online social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook.   For example, Mayor McGinn tweets frequently, and King County Metro has an amazingly thorough Twitter feed.  Cities and counties are finding new ways to communicate with citizens — beyond  carefully crafted and vetted press releases — and Twitter remains on the forefront.

Many City of Seattle departments and elected officials have Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Check them out!

Volunteer for our Get Online! event

On Thursday, November 18, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, many computer learning centers in Central and South Seattle will be hosting events to help community members Get Online!

There will be activities and demonstrations on many topics, including: social networking, posting/viewing photos online, paying bills online, using email, accessing wireless networks, using Skype to make free phone calls, and using the internet safely.

If you’re comfortable helping people use the web to do simple tasks like set up email accounts and perform searches, we’d love to have you as a volunteer!  You can volunteer for one 2-hour session (4-6 PM or 6-8 PM) or help out for the entire event.  For more information on the event and to view the list of participating locations, see our Get Online! page.  Sign up to volunteer by filling out this online form.

Hope to see you on Thursday, November 18!

Neighborhood group web tool survey

If you participate in a neighborhood or community group, I’d sincerely appreciate it if you take a few minutes to fill out a short, 6-question online survey about your web tool use.  As a Masters of Public Administration student at the University of Washington, I’m in the process completing my degree project (or “mini-thesis”) on neighborhood and community web tool use. The information gathered from this survey will help me create recommendations to sustain and improve the Seattle Communities Online Project. Answers are confidential, although you do have the option to submit your name and contact information.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at amy.hirotaka@seattle.gov.

Seattle Communities Online Web Tool Survey

Welcome to the Seattle Communities Online blog!

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Seattle Communities Online blog, part of the Department of Information Technology’s Tech Talk blog.  Here, you can find news, tips, and stories aimed at helping you connect with your neighborhood online.

The Seattle Communities Online project was created in response to neighborhood and community groups asking for help to strengthen their use of online tools.  Explore our new web portal to connect with easy-to-use resources and helpful suggestions about free and low-cost online tools.

Have recommendations for topics you’d like to see covered here on the blog?  Use the comments section below.  We’d really like to hear from you!