Government 2.0

GSA social media timeline sputtering to a halt?

Activity on the General Services Administration’s social media timeline on Dipity has slowed to a crawl, with only a single entry added since June.

The U.S. Government Use of Social Media Timeline is a crowdsourced record of major milestones in federal agency adoption of Web 2.0 tools including blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Starting with the White House’s live-streaming of the official Easter egg roll on the lawn in 2002, the timeline is a digital journalist’s dream with dozens of benchmarks such as EPA creating a blog called "Flow of the River" (July 2007) and the State Department tweeting in Arabic for the first time (February 2011).

It has had periods of inactivity before, notably a lull from February to May 2011 previously reported in this blog.

Once again, the absence of new entries raises the question: Is federal adoption and use of social media really slowing down, or are the crowds simply neglecting to crowdsource as expected? Should the timeline be retired if it’s not providing useful information anymore?

Follow Alice Lipowicz on Twitter at @AliceLipowicz.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:01 AM2 comments

Federal grant data riddled with inconsistencies, report says

The vast majority of federal grant spending is either overreported, underreported or not reported publicly at all, according to a new report from the Sunlight Foundation.

The non-profit group released its most recent Clearspending report on Sept. 21, showing that $1.3 trillion in federal grants and loans were misreported on in fiscal 2010. That covers 94.5 percent of the total amount of grants.

That pattern also was observed in fiscal 2008, in which 96.5 percent of the total was determined to be misreported on, the Sept. 21 report said.

“We have seen no significant improvement in the quality of this data,” Sunlight officials wrote in the report. “As long as such a large portion of its data remains unreliable, is not usable as a single source for any kind of analysis, whether by a citizen, media outlet or research institution.”

The foundation analyzed federal grant spending data as reported to to determine whether it was consistent with data submitted to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

If spending was reported to and not to the catalog, that amount was deemed to be overreported. If spending was reported to the catalog but not to, it was judged underreported.

The agencies with the greatest overreporting were the Education Department, with 30 percent, and Homeland Security Department, with more than three thousand percent overreported, the study said.

Those with the largest percentages of underreporting were the Labor Department, 95 percent; National Archives & Records Administration, 80 percent; USDA, 60 percent; Environmental Protection Agency, 46 percnet; Transportation Department, 35 percent; and Health and Human Services Department, 35 percent.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM3 comments

National Sept. 11 museum launches mobile app

The National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum has launched the "Explore 9/11" mobile application for the iPhone and iPad.

The application, available free at the online iTunes store, offers a walking tour of lower Manhattan in the area around the World Trade Center, along with photos and audio narration of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition, the application offers an interactive timeline and photographs of the attacks and their aftermath contributed by survivors and witnesses via

Photos can be viewed in augmented reality mode, which overlays images on the camera view.

Aside from the walking tour, all content is available in off-line mode. “The app can operate in an off-line mode for non-U.S. visitors who have disabled data roaming,” the iTunes description states. "In this mode, all tour content is still accessible. The app includes a map of free Wi-Fi hot spots near the tour route for downloading 'Explore' photos from the vicinity."

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Sep 09, 2011 at 10:01 AM0 comments

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