Tag Archives: Web 2.0

Categories? Tags? What’s the big deal?

Now that we have our blogging platform, and our theme or front end, we need to start working on the backend of the site.

One of the areas that seems to be the biggest hang up for organizations stepping into the social media/blogging realm is the idea behind categories and tags. Which is what and what is which? It really confuses a lot of folks. And it confused me for a long time. I couldn’t quite grasp what each was for and what the difference was.

I am still working on my analogy but I try to explain it to people, potential bloggers like this.

The “Blogosphere” is a Super Wal Mart.

Your blog is the grocery section

Your category is the vegetable aisle

Your tags are the different vegatables in the aisle

Example. Your blog is titled Groceries at Super Wal Mart. Your blog post is titled Potato Chips. Your category might be Snack Foods and your tags would be Lays, Wise, potato chip, Cheeze Doodles, Cheetos, pretzel sticks, pretzel knots and my personal favorite, Munchos.

Did I completely lose you in the bread aisle?

ScreenShot001My main blog, Scott’s Morning Brew, has 7 categories.

Church
General
News
Opinion
Politics
Technology
Videos

Currently, I have about 400 tags.

One of the trickiest tasks involved with setting up my agency’s blog, was choosing the categories. Each section of a magazine theme is generally defined by a category. There are five secions on the front page, not including the sidebar. I wanted to make sure that the sections displayed on the front end of the blog were relevant, interesting and provided enough information that visitors didn’t have to dig to deep. The categories on the front page are self explanatory and the reasoning behind choosing them is probably pretty obvious. If not, ask me.

Announcements
Crimeline
Events
Featured*
Press Releases

A sixth category is General Information and is not displayed on the front of the blog. It is the catch all and the category that I move some entries out of other categories to. For example, an event that has passed would be moved to General Information for historical purposes. That way it stays a part of the site but not on the front page in the events section.

*The Featured category is a hybrid. Any entry from any other category could go here. This is the article, or blog entry that is in the top left most corner of the blog. The “FEATURED” section. The entry may also be in Press Releases, General Information or Announcements. Once it’s usefulness of being a featured article has passed, it is removed from this category and place in a category of it’s own.

Since my agency is a police department, an example might be an article concerning a bank robbery, where a suspect’s photograph was taken. The investigators release the photo to the public along with a press release describing him/her. We put the photo in the FEATURED category and it displays foremost on the site.

Once that suspect has been dealt with, or another entry takes precedence it is moved down to it’s preferred category. In this case, press releases.

Using that same example of a bank robbery, we might add the tags of Bluebird Bank and Trust, robbery, armed, and firearm.

Once the blog starts getting populated with information, visitors can then search on “Bluebird Bank and Trust” and find all entries, regardless of category that mention it.

Tags can also be useful for SEO, or search engine optimization as well as on sites like Technorati and other social bookmarking/catalog sites.

I hope this clarifies the Category/Tag difference and their usefulness. If I managed to muddy the waters for you, please let me know. I will try to explain further.

Web 2.0 and Community Policing

DSCF7785 One of the “buzz words” for police agencies, before 09-11-01, was Community Policing. For years, using those words in just about any grant request was almost guaranteed to get some state or federal money flowing into the police department. More recently, Community Policing has taken second seat to Homeland Security however.

What exactly is this new thing called “Community Policing”? Well, first off, it is absolutely not new. It’s going back to the way we used to police 75 or 100 years ago.

Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. -=SOURCE=-

I have heard a statement used in the Community Policing world… It’s been attributed to Paul Harvey but I haven’t been able to verify this. The statement goes:

The greatest crime prevention tool is the front porch.

Folks sitting on their front porch WILL deter crime. Criminals don’t want to be seen.

How does all this tie into Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is a discussion. Communication. Two (or more) way dialog and commentary. So is Community Policing. It is a dialog between the police, more specifically, police officers and the community, more specifically the community, or neighborhood the police officers patrol.

By opening a dialog via the Internet, you can enhance your Community Policing initiatives. But which, of the THOUSANDS of tools do you use? Where do you begin? Which one do you start with?

There are several things you have to examine before you go any further. One of which is just exactly WHO will be handling the continuing dialog.

One of the most interesting concepts was brought up in a different conversation by a contact of mine name Christa M. Miller. In her blog, she discussed the “branding” of a police agency. I responded with a rather lengthy comment that probably should have been a blog post of its own. But it raised a question in her mind. She asked:

I think what I was envisioning was policy that would allow officers to take the initiative as long as they do it responsibly. This is not something you can “mandate” IMO – it has to fit into the overall strategy of strong community policing efforts.

Is there a way to write SOP to accomplish this? Perhaps allowing officers to “officially” represent the PD online only if they have a certain number of years of service?

When I first read this, I got cold chills. I’m old school. You have ONE point of contact in a police department for public information. The PIO (Public Information Officer). PERIOD. The idea of opening up the entire department with the expectation that they will do it responsibly is a bit disconcerting.

But the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. And I believe a hybrid of both methods would work well.

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What is Web 2.0?

web2This can be a tough one. Ask 10 different internet professionals that question and you are likely to get 10 different answers. Or at least, 10 variations on the basic theme.

Web 2.0 is really nothing. It’s not a “version” of the internet. It’s not a singular piece of software. It’s almost more of an attitude. It’s the attitude of the web developers and their clients.

There are some basic functionalities that would be required for something to be filed in the Web 2.0 category. But primarily, its simply a different way of doing business on this thing we call the Internet.

From Wikipedia on Web 2.0:

Web 2.0 describes the changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aim to enhance creativity, communications, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web culture communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. The term became notable after the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but rather to changes in the ways software developers and end-users utilize the Web.

According to Tim O’Reilly:

“Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.

The best analogy I can come up with for Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 is this

Web 1.0 is a lecture, Web 2.0 is a discussion.