Government 2.0

GSA updates its social media guide for federal agencies

If you thought federal agencies' use of social media was a breeze, think again. The General Services Administration published its new 26-page Social Media Navigator on May 18 with lots of advice to consider while establishing a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other popular social networking websites.

Agencies should minimize risks by being aware of all their responsibilities, GSA advises. The list of requirements is quite long and includes complying with policies on product endorsements; ensuring Section 508 accessibility; protecting privacy and intellectual property; and complying with lobbying, political activity and Federal Advisory Committee Act laws. The requirements also include following guidelines on records management and information collection, plain language use, data quality, access for those with limited English-speaking skills, cookies, and usability.

In addition, agencies need to make sure they have content review policies and disclaimers in place, blog comment policies and an incident response plan in case the social network is hit by a virus or worm. Those are listed among the items on a risk mitigation checklist included in the guide.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on May 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM2 comments

Secret Service red-faced by errant anti-Fox News tweet

The Secret Service was dealing with a Twitter tempest on May 20 after an agency employee posted a message on the agency’s official Twitter account criticizing Fox News.

“Had to monitor Fox for a story,” the tweet from @SecretService read. “Can’t. Deal. With. The. Blathering.”

The tweet quickly was deleted from Twitter but not before a number of observers shared it on the site by retweeting. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch @WeatherBird captured a screen grab here.

The Secret Service subsequently apologized and told the Washington Post that an employee with access to the agency Twitter account mistakenly believed he or she was on a personal Twitter account and posted the message. “The tweet contained no vulgarity, security or pertinent agency information. The tweet did not reflect the views of the U.S. Secret Service and it was immediately removed,” the statement published by the Washington Post said.

The Secret Service debuted its Twitter feed on May 10, and already has more than 23,000 followers.

“Little more than a week after the U.S. Secret Service launched its official Twitter account, the federal law enforcement agency has had a major system failure,” Mike Levine wrote on the Fox News politics blog on May 18.

“It was a fascinating insight into what is said near the Secret Service water coolers,” stated an article in the UK's Daily Mail. “But there were red faces at the agency.”

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on May 20, 2011 at 10:02 AM1 comments

Is government adoption of social media slowing down?

Is federal social media adoption slowing down? It might be, judging by  the General Services Administration’s online gauge of activity -- the U.S. Government Use of Social Media Timeline.

Created with Dipity, the crowdsourced timeline graphic has dozens of benchmarks submitted by federal agencies, such as Congress granting agencies the authority to give prizes and the IRS issuing its first mobile application in January 2011. About 55,000 visitors have viewed the timeline since it was created.

However, the most recent listed on the social media timeline was in February 2011: State Department begins tweeting in Arabic.

Sounds like it’s time for crowdsourcing to work its magic and add some more milestones to the timeline.

In other Gov 2.0 news, if you like ragtime, Irving Berlin and George Cohan, you can now download records of their music for free from the Library of Congress’ new National Jukebox online service.

The jukebox makes available to the public more than 10,000 sound records made between 1901 and 1925. The recordings originally were made by the Victor Talking Machine Co., now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which made them available to the jukebox project.

Also, the General Services Administration’s mobile applications initiative now has its own Twitter account, @Mobile_Gov. The recently created account highlights the latest news on mobile technologies advanced by the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on May 11, 2011 at 10:02 AM1 comments

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