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5/1/2012
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GSA Creates Social Media Registry For Federal Agencies

As government accounts proliferate on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites, the feds establish a registry to help the public know which ones are authentic.

Top 14 Government Social Media Initiatives
Top 14 Government Social Media Initiatives
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The General Services Administration has created a social media registry on which federal agencies can list their accounts on 22 social media platforms. The public can also use the registry to verify whether accounts are bona fide government accounts.

It's the latest step in Uncle Sam's evolving social media strategy, as agencies adopt policies in how they use social media to inform and engage the public. There are thousands of social media accounts in use by federal agencies, according to GSA. The registry is intended to establish public confidence that accounts bearing the names of federal agencies or officials are the real deal and not unaffiliated sites.

"GSA has built this registry so that people can trust that they're engaging with a government agency through social media, and to provide a better picture of federal agencies using social media," Justin Herman, the social media lead in the GSA's Center for Excellence in Digital Government, wrote in a blog post announcing the registry.

[ The Obama administration cracks down on governments that restrict their citizens' Internet access. Read more at An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches. ]

The social media platforms in GSA's registry include Blip, Disqus, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Github, Google+, IdeaScale, LinkedIn, Livestream, Meetup, Myspace, Posterous, Sribd, Slideshare, Socrata, Tumblr, Twitter, Uservoice, Ustream, Vimeo, and Youtube.

Social media sites don't use the .gov and .mil Internet domains, which makes it hard to verify that accounts bearing a government name or logo actually belong to government officials or departments. The registry is intended to help with that, according to Herman. It will include accounts held by federal agencies and the heads of agencies, elected officials, and members of the Cabinet. It won't include the personal media accounts of government employees.

GSA plans to offer APIs that can be used by agencies to access data in the registry.

The public is expected to have access to a social media verification tool within two weeks. Users will be able to enter the URL of a social media page and find out whether it's listed in the registry.

Attend InformationWeek's IT Government Leadership Forum, a day-long venue where senior IT leaders in government come together to discuss how they're using technology to drive change in federal departments and agencies. It happens in Washington, D.C., May 3.

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Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/2/2012 | 12:09:31 AM
re: GSA Creates Social Media Registry For Federal Agencies
I've got two questions about this...

1. When did this become a priority? Did Social Media just make it onto the GSA's radar?
2. What do they plan on doing with those who try to pass themselves off as authentic government organizations?

If this is meant as a way of increasing the amount of trust that the people put in the US Government (or, more closely, the GSA), I feel it's going to take a /little/ more than this.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
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