President Barack Obama participated in his first " ask me anything," or AMA, session on social media platform Reddit Aug. 29. The president's debut on the site caused such an influx of traffic the site temporarily crashed. Obama's visit to the Reddit community was something of a surprise. Forgoing the customary advance press release and White House blog post, the president instead announced via Twitter at 1:08 pm on Aug. 29, "Hey, everyone: I'll be taking your questions online today. Ask yours here: http://OFA.BO/gBof44 –bo."
As residents of the Gulf Coast got hit this week by the effects of tropical storm Isaac, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced four new research awards seeking to improve the way potentially life-saving weather warnings reach those who need to act on them. Despite advances in weather prediction and hurricane tracking, researchers continue to grapple with the problem of how to more effectively issue storm warnings to populations caught in the path of natural disasters. Online tools and social media offer tremendous potential in positively impacting how people respond to adverse weather conditions.
New model instructions to jurors in federal court cases prepared by a committee of judges goes out of its way to warn off individuals from using Internet-connected mobile devices or social media during trial and deliberations.
The General Services Administration unveiled a tool Aug. 16 allowing those with email addresses ending in.gov or.mil and a valid phone number to update or add to the registry of official federal social media accounts.
Barack Obama's re-election campaign makes far more use of online content than that of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, says a study based on activity from June 4 through June 17. The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that on daily average, the Obama campaign sent out 29 tweets for every one that the Romney campaign sent out and posted twice as many blog posts onto the official campaign websites—eight on barackobama.com for the four on mittromney.com.
Accurate analysis of Twitter data is limited by the fact that Twitter is a self-reporting social medium, which introduces a significant self-reporting bias into data, finds new research (.pdf).
A social media project launched by Sweden's tourism bureau, Visit Sweden, was received kudos worldwide for boldness, but activity this week has some second-guessing the experiment.
Setting up federal employee social media accounts "shouldn't be any different than giving them an email account," said Jason Townsend, deputy manager of NASA's social media team.
Social media has led to a democratization of information within federal agencies and has resulted in new opportunities for more junior civil servants in unanticipated ways, said panelists at the Management of Change conference.
Civil servants in the United Kingdom should be weaving public engagement through social media into their work, according to guidelines (.pdf) issued by the U.K. government's digital service May 17.