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FCW : July 30, 2013
of acquisition leaders surveyed by GovLoop said lack of training hampered their team's ability on a daily basis 29% July 30, 2013 FCW.COM 7 Trending The rst images of the July 6 plane crash in San Francisco emerged on Twitter, with survivors posting pho- tos of the wrecked plane. Increasingly, people on the front lines of natural disasters, industrial accidents and other disrup- tions are turning to social media to call for help, com- municate with friends and family, and share photo- graphs with authorities. According to a Red Cross survey last year, 76 percent of Americans expect help to arrive within three hours of posting a call for aid on a social media site. Given such high expectations, government agen- cies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency are increasingly looking for ways to engage with the public via social media. FEMA is using social media as a channel to help people prepare for impending disasters, convey informa- tion about how emergency assistance is reaching stricken communities, stim- ulate volunteer support and donations, and get feedback on its efforts. The agency has seen its followers grow from 25,000 across all social media in June 2010 to more than 500,000 today, said Shayne Adam- ski, FEMA's senior manager of digital engagement, during a July 9 hearing of the House Emergency Prepared- ness, Response and Communications Subcommittee. Despite the rapid growth, FEMA's social media audience is tiny compared to the number of people who could potentially need information about a developing emergency. And although people need infor- mation about disasters that are bearing down on them, they might be less interested in the daily chatter of emer- gency management agencies. "We're not saying anything interesting most of the time," said Albert Ashwood, direc- tor of the Oklahoma Depart- ment of Emergency Manage- ment, which recently had to cope with a series of powerful tornados. However, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said, "Agencies need to be providing data in a usable, open-source format so the high-technology compa- nies like Google can quickly and eas- ily incorporate it into their own Web pages, apps and other portals." In response, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), the subcommittee's chair- woman, said she has heard that "FEMA is engaging with private-sector compa- nies, including Google and Twitter, to determine how best to take advantage of open data, social media and two-way interaction to enhance [its] emergency management capabilities." FEMA relies on a team of about 20 to read social media feeds and iden- tify trends and spikes in chatter that might be of interest. Brooks said such an approach would be dif cult to scale up during large disasters, when the vol- ume of posts is likely to overhwlem staff. Adamski said the agency was exploring other methods of "social listening," including the use of exist- ing private-sector tools. --- Adam Mazmanian FEMA builds social media into disaster response Hey, agency cybersecurity experts: Do you have a proven track record for "directing IT modernization efforts, formulating short- and long- range strategic direction, and devel- oping technology policies"? Would you like to be the Internal Revenue Service's next director of cyberse- curity operations, earn as much as the vice president and deliver world-class security for critical IRS systems? Too bad. Federal employees are not eligible to apply. The IRS has designated this a "streamlined critical pay position, "a special category that the agency may use to ll posts that "require expertise of an extremely high level" and "are critical to the Internal Revenue Serv- ice's successful accomplishment of an important mission. " Special recruiting efforts and high- er salaries can be used in such cases when the agency has determined that no quali ed federal employees are available and when a standard General Schedule or Senior Execu- tive Service job is unlikely to attract top talent from outside government. As a result, feds --- and many former IRS employees --- are eliminated from the start. --- Troy K. Schneider A great job in government --- so long as you're not in government
July 15, 2013
August 15, 2013