Government 2.0

Congressional staffers have age gap on social media

Staff aides to members of Congress are adopting social media tools at a rapid pace to help advance the missions of their offices, but a significant age gap remains, according to a new research study.

Two-thirds of those staffers age 30 or younger feel social media is worth the offices’ time spent, while only 32 percent of the staffers aged 51 or older felt the same, states the study by the Congressional Management Foundation released July 26.

The findings are based on a survey of 260 staffers conducted from October through December 2010.

Congressional offices are using social media to help gauge public opinion and to communicate lawmakers’ views and activities, the survey states.

Of those surveyed, 64 percent said Facebook was somewhat or very important for understanding public opinion, while 42 percent named Twitter as similarly serving that purpose, and 34 percent named YouTube.

For the most important networks for communicating members’ views and activities, 74 percent of the staffers named Facebook, 72 percent named YouTube and 51 percent named Twitter.

More than one-third of the staffers surveyed said their offices spend too little time on social media activities such as online town hall meetings, videos and their official blog. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say their offices do not spend enough time on online communications.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jul 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM0 comments

Chopra vs. Kundra in online clout: Who's the champ?

In just a week on Twitter, Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra has gotten more clout than federal CIO Vivek Kundra, according to an analysis of their scores at

Chopra scored 51 on as of July 13, while Kundra scored 48.

The score ranges from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest. It provides an index of the ability to affect dialogue and opinions online, based on several measures of fan activity on Twitter or Facebook, or both.

Chopra joined Twitter on July 6, and his Klout score almost immediately shot up to 51. He currently has about 1,100 followers on the site.

Kundra, who has more than 4,300 followers on Twitter, saw his score drop in the recent weeks. It was over 50 several weeks ago, based on an examination of a chart.

The falling score could be a reflection of Kundra’s imminent departure from the White House. Kundra recently announced he has accepted a post at Harvard University.

In other Gov 2.0 news, Vice President Joe Biden announced the “Apps Against Abuse” national competition July 13 to encourage developers to create tools to help young adults with protection against sexual assault and dating violence.

The contest is aimed at protecting young women aged 16-24, who experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.

The contest will offer incentives for creating applications that provide a means for the women to use mobile devices, such as iPhones or cell phone text messages, to check in with trusted friends and family members in real time, especially during at-risk situations.

The competition is sponsored by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and the Health and Human Services Department. Additional information is available at

In other news, the Government Printing Office said it has expanded its collection of e-books to more than 200 titles, in partnership with Google. The partnership was formed in 2010 to help convert government documents into e-books available at Google’s eBookstore.

However, a user might have trouble finding the 200 GPO titles in Google’s eBookstore. A search of the site for “GPO” came up with scores of e-books, but only one or two appeared to be from the GPO. A search for “U.S. Government Printing Office” was a bit better, turning up several e-books from the GPO, but again turned up many pages of unrelated e-books.

The search for “Books by the U.S. Government Printing Office” turned up five volumes, not 200. GPO officials were not immediately available to comment.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:01 AM0 comments

Did a rogue Twitter account confuse White House town hall participants?

White House officials fielded thousands of questions from the public in advance of President Barack Obama's first “Twitter Town Hall” event July 6, but the existence of an apparent rogue Twitter account suggests that some questions intended for the White House might have gone astray.

Federal officials invited the public to submit questions for the town hall on the Twitter website with the #askobama hashtag. A hashtag is a content label that enables the questions to be easily collected and viewed as a group on Twitter. Thousands of questions reportedly were submitted with that hashtag.

However, the existence of an @askobama Twitter account may have confused some users. The account appears to be new and is listed in the name of “A.J. Obama.” It has no tweets, follows no accounts and has no information published about its owner. There is no indication that the @askobama Twitter account has any official connection with the White House, the president or the Twitter Town Hall event.

Nevertheless, as of July 6, the @askobama account had 1,245 followers. Furthermore, a reporter’s searches of Twitter revealed that numerous users referred to @askobama as an affiliated account of the White House town hall event, apparently by mistake.

It was not immediately clear if the existence of @askobama was a deliberate prank or an attempt to affect the town hall. 

What happened to questions tweeted to @askobama instead of #askobama? Apparently there was no response, because @askobama has not broadcasted any tweets; the account holder did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Any disgruntled members of the public who wonder whether their questions got lost should check their hashtags to make sure the questions were sent to #askobama instead of @askobama.

Follow me on Twitter at @AliceLipowicz

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jul 06, 2011 at 10:01 AM0 comments

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