Government 2.0

GSA holds March Madness contest--for federal buildings

Fans of architecture, design and photography, take note.

The General Services Administration is sponsoring a creative March Madness contest this week on its Facebook page and in the GSA Blog—but instead of basketball teams in the 16 brackets the agency is asking people to vote for their favorite federal buildings.

It’s a fun idea, and GSA officials thoughtfully put together gorgeous photographs of the 16 federal buildings up for inspection. Their designs range through a wide variety of styles, including the beaux art facade of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York and modern curved glass of the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston. There are also a couple of notable examples of federal “Green buildings,” which are energy-efficient buildings, in the mix.

The contest’s Facebook Timeline format is perhaps not the easiest to execute on. It was a little unclear exactly how and where to vote when I looked at the contest today.

Also, federal buildings are big and impressive, but not well known even in their hometowns. For example, I’ve lived in Washington for over a decade and have never heard of the James L. Whitten Federal Building, although if you told me it was the USDA’s headquarters I would recognize it.

Looks like the GSA is going to have to give this contest a big sales push to get it going. Just a handful of votes have been cast to date.

The contest seems to be a somewhat lighthearted effort by GSA to spotlight notable federal architecture, but if lots of votes start coming in, it potentially could serve a more serious purpose and possibly could influence future federal design competitions.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Mar 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM2 comments

Finding NASA's new multi-player game on Facebook takes one giant leap

Houston, we have a problem.

NASA has just released its first multi-player space history trivia game on Facebook, but it seems to have gotten lost in cyberspace.

I was excited about trying out the cool new application, called Space Race Blast Off, so naturally I went to Facebook’s search box. That is where my mission took an unexpected detour.

First, I tried searching “Space Race Blast Off.” I tried regular search, then searched in the Apps category. Nothing.

Then “NASA Space Race Blast Off.” Nothing. “NASA Space Race.” Nothing. “Space Race” got a few hits but none were from NASA.

In desperation I tried “Space Race Blastoff.” Still nothing.

Not being one to give up easily, I visited NASA’s online media Web page and easily discovered the Web link for the application in a NASA official press release of Jan. 30, along with a description of the game. Mission accomplished—for now.

But the future of this game depends on getting multiple online players involved. Probably a lot of people would be eager to try it out--if they could find it. Obviously, the fate of the galaxy is not hanging on this being solved, but it sure would be nice to see the search engine up and running for NASA's new game.


Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Feb 01, 2012 at 10:02 AM1 comments

White House schedules Tweetup during SOTU

President Barack Obama is inviting active White House followers on Twitter for a high-profile viewing and tweeting session during the State of the Union speech on Jan. 24.

White House officials have issued an invitation for interested and active followers of the @WhiteHouse Twitter account to register and apply for a chance to participate in the “Tweetup” event. Deadline for registration at is 11:59 pm on Jan. 17.

Participants will be admitted to the White House to watch the president’s speech live, while also tweeting about the speech on their personal Twitter accounts, and to listen to a panel discussion by White House officials after the speech.

Previous White House Tweetups have been held for events including a Twitter Town Hall, a reception for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and a reception for the Republic of Korea. NASA also has sponsored a number of Tweetups for its launches.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM0 comments

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