Tag Archives: Gov 2.0

How To: Create a Facebook Interest List

Note: This is not just for SMEM. A journalist friend was about to “friend” a lot of politicians or Like their Facebook pages because it’s coming close to some elections. She apologized to those of us who are friends and I suggested to her that this might be a better route, so she doesn’t have the discomfort of “Liking” being interpreted as support.

An interest list is a list of Facebook pages that you compile, using your Facebook profile, to maintain awareness of a particular topic. Note that you cannot currently create an interest list with a Facebook page. So, if you’re planning on creating a list for monitoring a topic or for networking with similar groups to your own, you must create the list from your profile and make it publicly available, if others will be using it to monitor/network.

Why would I want to create an interest list? Can’t I just “like” all the pages I want? Well, of course you can! The disadvantage of that approach, however, is that your topic-related pages will be mixed in with all your personal friends’ updates and you may miss something important. If you create a list, you can click on the topic header and read through only the posts for the emergency at hand.

How do I create one of my very own (or two or three)?

  • Log in to your Facebook account.

  • Look at the left-hand side of the Home page (where your newsfeed is) and scroll down until you see a menu header that says Interests. It will look something like this:

Interest List Option

  • Click on the menu item that says Add Interests
  • Once you click there, you have the opportunity to look for existing lists. You do that by typing into the “Search for lists” box
  • Then click the Follow button if you find one you like. Of course, you can follow as many as you want.


You can (and should) also create new lists.

  • First click the + Create List button (see previous image)
  • You will be shown a set of pages that you can add to this new list


  • To add one or more items, click on the image (s) and a check mark  will show (you can toggle it back off to deselect)


Hat tip ^ to my friends at 30Days, 30Ways, who are about to start their annual preparedness game. Do give them a follow and play along too or be a sponsor!

  • You can also add friends or profiles of people you follow
  • Once you’ve selected some things to add, click Next and it will ask you for a name for the list and whether you want to make it available publicly, to your friends, or private.


  • Once you have created a list, you can add pages as you find them. You don’t even have to Like the pages. If you add a page to your interest list, it will show up in the list but not individually.
  • Your list will always be available in the left-hand menu, where you started building it and you’ll get a consolidated post daily, with a couple of highlighted items. As, you can imagine, if you’ve liked 50 accounts, this is a much better way to go.

I hope you’ll make your lists public and if you have some already or make a few after reading this, feel free to share the link(s) in the comments.

Old Smokey Bear is back with a better message than ever!


Trying to fit in with the various trends of our nation, Smokey Bear has changed over the years. He tries to be hip with these changes, but he’s still Smokey and now he’s back to his original self, well, sort of…

Since 1944, Smokey Bear has been American’s icon for wildfire prevention. Despite the campaign’s success over the years, wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues affecting our country, and Smokey’s message is as relevant today as it was in 1944.

Smokey has always made a statement, such as, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” But now, he’s taking a different approach to educating all ages. This approach is a hug from him when you prevent a fire. Who doesn’t want a hug from Smokey?

The venerable bear is now less an authority figure than a model of positive reinforcement who embraces people who show they know how to…

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Stuff in the news 6/27/2013 – Communication

Vintage Telephone

Image courtesy of Daniel St. Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • I don’t know about this article. Maybe a better idea would be to have a vacation or concentrate on your business trip. We seemed to manage just fine before all this “connectedness”. DO have a plan in place, in case of emergency, of course – but we should all keep the immediate gratification aspects of technology in check: Ways Technology Keeps You Connected to Your Significant Other While Away
  • How often do you talk about something you’re passionate about (whether work, volunteer, or hobby) to someone who is completely outside your field? Or what about newcomers to what you do? I am terribly guilty at times of using acronyms or terminology that a newbie might not have been exposed to. At work, I have a policy on my team that if I explain something to a new team member, that person gets to explain it to someone else the next time.  The following article was written about science communication but applies to all of us who have to get across complex ideas to the public.  What is science communication?
  • Only the abstract is at this link – the full article is $30 but might be worth it if you have the change on hand… Technology and Collective Action: The Effect of Cell Phone Coverage on Political Violence in Africa
  • This may draw more attention to you than not doing it, by virtue of the notion that if you’re encrypting your info, you might have something interesting to spy on. Personally, that whole notion may be over the top but PRISM-proof your phone with these encrypted apps and services
  • … because we need another social network.  Potluck, A New Social Network Based on Link Sharing and Discussion
  • I love analogies. This author took a 1946 US Forestry Service document about being lost and compared it to what you should do if you’ve lost your bearings in handling your social media. It is true that I take an approach of “all who wander are not lost” but if I see no traction, I’ll try another route – e.g. breaking down these news posts by topics). At any rate, the poster is worth sharing and may even help you, should you get lost in the woods, literally!
  • “Monitoring electronic conversations just got a lot more powerful with the alliance of Digital Reasoning and OP3Nvoice, announced at SIFMA today.

    Digital Reasoning, with roots in defense and intelligence, can search and understand structured and unstructured data and use it to build a view of underlying entities, facts, relationships and discover geospatial and temporal patterns. OP3Nvoice can monitor audio, video and text conversations across channels including fixed lines, mobile and Skype and search and locate conversations very fast.”

  • What’s The Difference Between A Social Media Crisis And A Bonehead Move?
  • This is one of those “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” sorts of stories.  The confidence of Speech-Language Pathology students regarding communicating with people with aphasia. When I was an undergrad in speech & language pathology, I had the astoundingly fortunate opportunity to work in the U of M – Ann Arbor residential aphasia clinic. At that time, it was the only such residential facility in the country. One day, I was facilitating a group reading session and could not get a point across to one of the members. Apparently, I was saying the same thing as previous attempts but increasing my volume because one of the patients looked at me and said, “We’re aphasic, not deaf.” Oops! The point here is that it’s not something you really pick up in the myriad of classes you might take, it’s practical experience that really teaches you how to do things. This is true of the work world, as well as the world of clinical therapy – practice, practice, practice!
  • Webinar: Social Media Performance Metrics: Measuring Depth – Tuesday, July 2, 2013 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT

Stuff in the news 6/20/2013 – Communication

Vintage Telephone

Image courtesy of Daniel St. Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • How MomsRising and charity: water have used Storify & Quora for success
  • This piece is a good companion to my previous blog post, To Post or Not to Post. Things you should pay attention to when considering posting in the aftermath of a tragedy… Social Media Moments of Silence – 5 Areas to Monitor During Tragedies
  • Social-media tools allow anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account to play a role in determining how many readers a story reaches. And online communities such as the heavily trafficked Reddit enable readers to submit links to their favorite content, and vote up or down the content submitted by others, thereby changing a given item’s prominence on the site. The result is that the mainstream-media oligopoly is now just one force deciding what “the news” is and how important a story or image might be.“Over the last 100 years, you go from a point when a newspaper would be able to set the tone and the five top stories of the day, to what Walter Cronkite and his cohort would say on the evening news, and then to the explosion of cable news, and now the Internet,” says Gabriel Snyder, 36, the editor of The Atlantic Wire and former editor in chief of Gawker. “We’ve gone from having just a few handfuls of places that might set the agenda to this proliferation that is reaching a near infinite number of people who can define what the top story is today.” — Source: Streams of consciousness: Millennials expect a steady diet of quick-hit, social-media-mediated bits and bytes. What does that mean for journalism?
  • From NPR: “On July 3, the 1977 movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope will premiere dubbed in Navajo. The Navajo Nation and Lucasfilm have teamed up to translate the original Star Wars movie into Navajo, the first time a major motion picture has been translated into a Native American language.”
  • Do you really want to know what your cat thinks? Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals? 
  • Use it only for good….  NSA-Style Intelligence Comes To Financial Services Communications
  • “Monitoring electronic conversations just got a lot more powerful with the alliance of Digital Reasoning and OP3Nvoice, announced at SIFMA today.

    Digital Reasoning, with roots in defense and intelligence, can search and understand structured and unstructured data and use it to build a view of underlying entities, facts, relationships and discover geospatial and temporal patterns. OP3Nvoice can monitor audio, video and text conversations across channels including fixed lines, mobile and Skype and search and locate conversations very fast.”

  • Facebook is revamping their Insights again. I don’t know how this is going to affect analytics, comparatively, but you should be aware of the changes: Facebook Studio :: Blog | Updating Page Insights
  • Just one more reason to refrain from using “baby talk” to your infant –  “The little sounds and puffs of air that toddlers often inject into their baby babble may actually be subtle stand-ins for grammatical words, new research suggests.”
  • The [UK] government has published its communications plan for 2013 to 2014, prioritising professional development and innovative partnerships.

Citizen Corps Whole Community and CERT Core Capabilities Tool Released

FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division has released the Citizen Corps Whole Community and CERT Core Capabilities Tool. Last year, a working group of state and local Citizens Corps program managers, organized by the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division, developed this tool to map out all of the core capabilities identified by the National Preparedness Goal. The tool showcases:

Highlights of core capabilities to whole community engagement in each mission area:

  • Definitions of the capabilities from the National Preparedness Goal
  • Descriptions of how Citizens Corps Whole Community supports the capabilities
  • Whole Community toolkit with resource links

The Citizen Corps Whole Community and CERT Core Capabilities Tool can assist State Administrative Agencies (SAAs)  in demonstrating how Citizen Corps and CERT programs support most of the target capabilities and help implement the whole community approach to emergency management. This tool can help SAAs and Citizen Corps Councils at all levels develop strategic investment justifications with a high return on investment.

To access the Citizens Corps Whole Community and CERT Core Capabilities tool online visit: http://www.ready.gov/citizen-corps/citizen-corps-grant-information-and-financial-resources.

For questions on the tool, please contact the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division atcitizencorps@fema.dhs.gov.

Tips for PIOs in an Emergency

Great tip from Jim here on the dangers of pre-scheduled tweets. Pre-scheduling and auto-tweeting are a good thing, overall, but never leave it there with no human intervention. You need to shut them down, if needed. And oh, by the way, you need to monitor reactions to those auto-posts!

The importance of being human

Why are you on social media? Is it to sell something? To meet new people? To network with people you already know? To inform or advocate?

Even if your choice is information and advocacy, if all you ever do is shout through a megaphone, you are defeating the purpose of *social* media. If your job is outreach, then 2-way communication is a must. Do you actually care about the person to whom you just provided information? Do you care if he understood what you said? If not, then you probably aren’t being as informative as you think.

Here’s my real world analogy: Suppose you walk up to someone on the street and tell them something you think is important and walk away, regardless of whether that person has questions? What would people think of you? Frankly, how would you even know if your point got across?

Translated to social media:

  • Do you answer comments? Do you respond to mentions on Twitter? You should.
  • On Facebook, when someone thanks you for a post in a comment, how long does it really take you to hit that Like button? You’re there, looking at it already – it’s not that much of a time drain.
  • On any platform that allows comments/questions, are you too busy to answer? It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I will get back to you on that.”

Social media is a communication tool, just like a telephone.  If someone called you and asked a question, would you hang up on them? If you did, you’d have some very angry customers. If you don’t have time to answer the phone or respond to social media enquiries, then maybe you should consider a different medium or enlisting a community manager.

Comments and questions are welcome here!

The Spy Who Tweeted Me: Intelligence Community Wants to Monitor Social Media

Word to the wise… That advice about not posting anything you wouldn’t want you mother to see? You may want to make that Mama, Papa, and DARPA.

A research arm of the intelligence community wants to sweep up public data on everything from Twitter to public webcams in the hopes of predicting the future.

The project is the brainchild of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa, a relatively new part of the spy community that’s supposed to help investigate breakthrough technologies. While other projects exist for predicting political events, the Open Source Indicators program would be perhaps the first that mines data from social media websites.

The idea is to use automated analysis to sift through the deluge of publicly available data to help predict significant societal events, like a popular revolution. The nascent project, called “Open Source Indicators,” is just the latest move by the national security community to come to grips with the flood of information now available on social media. As Danger Room’s Lena Groeger has reported, it’s also intended to predict natural disasters or economic disruptions.

The science underlying the project is the notion that early indicators of major social upheavals might be hidden in plain, socially-networked sight. “Some of these changes may be indirectly observable from publicly available data, such as web search queries, blogs, micro-blogs, internet traffic, financial markets, traffic webcams, Wikipedia edits, and many others,” the announcement, published August 25, says. “Published research has found that some of these data sources are individually useful in the early detection of events such as disease outbreaks, political crises, and macroeconomic trends.”

Indeed, social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, garnered major attention during recent events like the Arab Spring, and have been credited with helping to organize protesters and even foment revolution. Authoritarian governments trying to hold on to power noted the trend, and attempted at times to shut down access to those sites — and occasionally the Internet as a whole — in the hopes of stymieing efforts to organize protests.

The idea of the U.S. intelligence community culling data from social media is still a new one, and is likely to raise a number of questions. For example: what constitutes public data?

Iarpa, for its part, defines public data as “lawfully obtained data available to any member of the general public, to include by purchase, subscription or registration.” That raises its own host of questions, like whether the intelligence community could register a fake profile on Facebook, in order to “friend” people and obtain more information.

For those who fear the all-seeing surveillance state, Iarpa says there are some things the program won’t do. It won’t be used to predict events in the United States, for instance. Nor will it be used to track specific individuals.

crossposted at the Medill National Security Zone

Photo: Lena Groeger

Government Information in Peril | American Libraries Magazine

By Bernadine Abbott Hoduski

Fri, 07/29/2011 – 13:16

Librarians need to work now to preserve the GPO Federal Digital System.

Wake up, librarians! No-fee public access to government information is in danger, because on July 22 the U. S. House of Representatives voted 252–159 to drastically cut the Government Printing Office (GPO) appropriations for 2012 and eliminate funding for the GPO Federal Digital System (FDsys). FDsys was created by GPO in 1994 to fulfill the requirement of the 1993 GPO Access Act to provide online electronic government information at no charge to the American people. The cuts are part of H.R. 2551, which provides legislative branch appropriations for 2012.

We are also in danger of losing GPO, the agency charged by Congress for the past 150 years to protect the public’s access to government information, just to save a few bucks. Dismembering or privatizing GPO, as the House proposes, will not save the government any money, but it will damage public access to government information. The bill directs the Government Accountability Office to “review the feasibility of Executive Branch printing being performed by the General Services Administration, the transfer of the Superintendent of Documents program to the Library of Congress, and the privatization of the GPO” (“Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, 2012,” House Report 112–148, July 15). Former Rep. Charlie Rose (D-N.C.), who convinced Congress in 1993 to vote for the GPO Access Act, had asked Congressional Joint Committee on Printing (JCP) staff, including myself, to draft a bill transferring Superintendent of Documents to LC but did not pursue the measure because he realized that the role of a library is very different from the role of a publisher, printer, and distributor.

The House-passed bill cuts funding for the Superintendent of Documents program from nearly $40 million to less than $34 million, making it very difficult for GPO to support the Federal Depository Library Program; the acquisition, cataloging, and dissemination of government documents; the LC International Exchange Program; and mandated distribution of publications to the three branches of government.

Congress is about to break its promise that if libraries and the public give up paper, they will still have permanent no-fee access to electronic government information. The House proposes that GPO fund FDsys by renting GPO’s unused space in its big red brick building to federal agencies. There is no guarantee that even if GPO is able to find renters by October 1 that it will collect enough money to keep FDsys in operation and allow the inclusion of new publications. Members of Congress may think they can turn to LC’s THOMAS database for legislative information, but they probably do not realize that much of THOMAS’s content is provided by GPO.   
GPO is the only federal agency required by law to provide publishing and dissemination services to all three branches of government, which makes it possible for GPO to fulfill Title 44 U.S. Code, “Distribution and Sale of Public Documents,” Sec. 1710–11, and “Depository Library Program,” Sec. 1903, which require GPO to identify, catalog, and disseminate government publications to the American people.  Without a centralized source for publishing services, we are in danger of losing access to more and more government documents.

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers – NYTimes.com

The federal government plans to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years to reduce its hefty technology budget and modernize the way it uses computers to manage data and provide services to citizens.

Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg News

Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the government, said cloud computing could save the country billions of dollars.

Computer centers typically do not employ many people to tend the machines, but analysts estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will most likely be eliminated.

The federal government is the largest buyer of information technology in the world, spending about $80 billion a year. The Obama administration, in plans detailed Wednesday, is taking aim at some of that by closing 800 of its sprawling collection of 2,000 data centers. The savings, analysts say, will translate into billions of dollars a year and acres of freed-up real estate.

The government is following the lead of private business. For years, companies have been using software that shares computing tasks across several machines in a data center. The task-juggling technology enables computers to run at far higher levels of efficiency and utilization than in the past, doing more computing chores with fewer computers and fewer data centers.

In an interview, Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the federal government, explained that the data center consolidation was part of a broader strategy to embrace more efficient, Internet-era computing. In particular, the government is shifting to cloud computing, in which users use online applications like e-mail remotely, over the Internet. These cloud services can be provided by the government to many agencies or by outside technology companies.

Tapping cloud computing services, Mr. Kundra said, could save the government an additional $5 billion a year, reducing the need for individual government agencies to buy their own software and hardware.

Continues here: nytimes.com