Justin Herman

Emerging Tech and Open Data for a More Open and Accountable Government

Open data and emerging technologies—including artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers, such as blockchain—hold vast potential to transform public services held back by bureaucracy and outdated IT systems. We are opening the doors to bold, fresh ideas for government accountability, transparency and citizen participation by working with U.S. businesses, civil society groups and others to shape

Read More →

Opening Public Services to Artificial Intelligence Assistants

“Hey, Computer, how do I access my public services?” Citizens will soon be able to ask their Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA) this question through an Emerging Citizen Technology open-sourced pilot program. The purpose of the initiative is to guide dozens of federal programs make public service information available through automated, self-service platforms for the home

Read More →

Federal Pilot to Integrate Public Services Into Intelligent Personal Assistants

The demand for more automated, self-service access to United States public services, when and where citizens need them, grows each day—and so do advances in the consumer technologies like Intelligent Personal Assistants designed to meet those challenges. The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA)

Read More →

Sharing Public Service Visions for Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence

I’m taking a break from sorting through dozens of concepts from federal agencies about how they want to use artificial intelligence and virtual reality for citizens in the coming months in order to share with you just some of these groundbreaking initiatives of tomorrow that can be explored at a DigitalGov University workshop this week.

Read More →

GSA launches new AI, Virtual Reality, and Authentication Programs

Today we’re launching three new initiatives powered by GSA Digital Communities that leap federal agencies ahead on some of the most innovative new capabilities becoming available to our programs — Artificial Intelligence, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and the U.S. Digital Registry. These new Communities and portal are products of inter-agency collaboration and our shared commitment pushing the

Read More →

Catch the Mall! With Pokemon and Public Services

“… I have never seen so many people of all ages walking around our civic spaces and small businesses interacting as I have this morning. Teens catching them. People catching them in line for coffee. Moms outsmarting their kids. Local youths teaching my toddler how to throw a ball. Full grown adults. Marines. Kids on

Read More →

New U.S. Digital Registry Authenticates Official Public Service Accounts

Whether for voter registration, health services or questions about taxes, trusting what and who you engage with online is critical. We’d like to introduce to you a new API-generating repository for official third-party sites, social media platforms and mobile apps in the United States federal government that can help you

Read More →

Once Upon a FOIA Request: How You Can Open Public Records

Like many of you, we watched with great interest this week when a citizen submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asking them to release to the public Wu-Tang Clan’s album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. While official sources explain that the desired outcome is not possible

Read More →

Empowering the Voice of Citizens at Core of GSA Open Government

We are proud to announce our commitment to the third U.S. National Action Plan for Open Government, released this week at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Mexico City, Mexico,

Read More →

DigitalGov Podcast: The Secrets Behind CIA Social Media

Julia Child and the OSS Recipe for Shark Repellent: http://t.co/q3cC4QiJhR #SharkWeek #OSS #WWII pic.twitter.com/Idbo1OkPLP — CIA (@CIA) July 9, 2015 The Central Intelligence Agency launched their Twitter account with the second most retweeted inaugural post in the platform’s history: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.” Now for the first

Read More →

Facts on the Federal-Compatible Terms of Service Agreement for Yelp

We’ve been excited to see the outpouring of interest this week in response to Yelp’s decision to amend their terms of service for official government use, a clear message that citizens want more ways to ensure their voices are heard by the public programs that serve them. Yelp is just one of dozens of platforms

Read More →

Five-Star Customer Experience in Public Service with Yelp

Adding customer satisfaction ratings and reviews to public services just got easier now that Yelp offers a terms of service for official government use. Yelp, a Web and mobile-based user review platform, hosts insights from “real people

Read More →

Monthly Theme: Building, Evaluating, and Improving Government Services Through Social Media

While examples of government social media content may initially seem like mere fun—the YouTube video of President Obama on Between Two Ferns or the Transportation Security Administration’s “good catch” pics of lipstick stun guns and batarangs—the potential of applied social data to build, evaluate and improve diverse citizen services is only increasing. As we recently

Read More →

Sharing the Essentials of Animated Gifs for Public Services

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohmyOKPSGPg&w=600] Animated gifs are increasingly found throughout the digital experience of today’s users. They offer a dynamic presentation of information in a format that can be both more performance-effective and cost-effective than standard video or images, making them valuable for federal teams looking to bring their programs to the modern digital space and improve customer

Read More →

On the Spot: Must-Have IFTTT Recipes for Government

Ever since we announced IFTTT was available for federal use, dozens of ideas have been shared for how program managers can use the tool to increase their productivity. I asked some API enthusiasts in the SocialGov community which of their

Read More →

IFTTT Combines Social Media, Mobile and Internet of Things for Government

The newest addition to the federal government’s social media utility belt may also be one of its most powerful, as IFTTT (as in “If This Then That”) combines 166 channels like Twitter, Android and iOS Location and RSS into “recipes” that can integrate government social media, data, location-based services

Read More →

U.S. Public Participation Playbook Open for Coders and Designers on GitHub

We released the United States Public Participation Playbook this week, a new open resource agencies can use to evaluate and build better programs that give a voice to the people they serve—and the response was fantastic. Public servants and citizens around the world have shared it, and already are contributing new ideas that build from

Read More →

New Inter-Agency Social Media Cyber-Vandalism Toolkit Launched

Federal agencies must prepare social media readiness procedures for cyber-vandalism, effectively recover control during an incident, and respond quickly to the public to maintain confidence in digital services. A new toolkit developed by more than a dozen government managers and representatives from major social media platforms, “Readiness, Recovery Response: Social Media Cyber-Vandalism Toolkit,” will help agencies

Read More →

Readiness, Recovery, Response: Social Media Cyber-Vandalism Toolkit

Cyber-vandalism presents a serious challenge to online-based communication tools. Users need available resources to counter intrusions of social media accounts. This document provides guidance and security practices to federal, state, and local government employees. Suggestions and resources prepare users to respond to cyber-hijacking. and will empower digital users to make informed choices and enact future

Read More →

Big in SocialGov in 2014: Services, Access and Participation

Social media for public service is a diverse field that uses platforms and data from both the private and public sectors to improve citizen services, make them easier to access and deliver them more cost effectively. It is not just public affairs or communications, but spreads into customer service, resource development and more. Many of

Read More →

3rd U.S. Public Participation Playbook Draft Released This Month

The new third draft of the U.S. Public Participation Playbook continues to incorporate changes proposed from more than 100 suggestions submitted via public comment aimed at measuring the performance and improving the development of government programs. It takes the 13 initial “plays” from rough brainstorming and collaborations to a more refined, action-focused presentation that will help contributors understand and identify opportunities

Read More →

2nd U.S. Public Participation Playbook Draft Responds to Public Contributions

The new second draft of the U.S. Public Participation Playbook incorporates changes that were proposed from nearly 100 suggestions submitted after the first week of public comment, with more improvements to come. We still need your contributions

Read More →

Help Shape Public Participation

Public participation—where citizens help shape and implement government programs—is a foundation of open, transparent, and engaging government services. From emergency management and regulatory development to science and education, better and more meaningful engagement with those

Read More →

White House SocialGov Summit Aims to Improve Open Data Innovation

More than 100 digital engagement and open data managers from across government met with leaders in the private sector startup community August 7 at the White House for a summit on integrating our digital services with public participation to create more

Read More →

Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government

Government agencies are increasingly using social media to engage with citizens, share information and deliver services more quickly and effectively than ever before. But as social content, data and platforms become more diverse, agencies have a responsibility to ensure these digital services are accessible to all citizens, including people with disabilities. This Toolkit is your

Read More →

Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad

Improving the Accessibility of Social Media for Public Service The following contains the shared document for the development of the Social Media Policy Toolkit, a shared service of the Federal Social Media Community of Practice lead by teams including The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. The toolkit is intended to help agencies evaluate the

Read More →

U.S. Gov Releases New Collaborative Social Media Services

The Federal #SocialGov Community, a collective of almost 700 digital engagement managers from more than 120 government agencies, marked the 2nd anniversary of our program by releasing a suite of new collaborative services to help us better work together and with partners in

Read More →

Facebook Increases Public Service Verification to Improve Citizen Engagement

Facebook is now the first social media platform to start verifying all federal government pages with their signature blue checkmark using the Federal Social Media Registry API. The Federal Social Media Registry provides the singular source that allows social media platforms to quickly collect real government accounts—emphasizing the critical need to ensure the trust, quality and

Read More →

Sign up For DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit, Friday, May 30

We won’t build the government of the 21st century by drawing within the lines. We don’t have to tell you the hard work of building a digital government doesn’t exist in a vacuum or a bubble. Show us social media without mobile, Web without data and user experience without APIs. You can’t? That’s right—in reality,

Read More →

Government Social Media Isn’t Lagging, It’s Different: And That’s Good

Social Media tools, trends and algorithms come and go, but federal managers continue to see improvements in their digital engagement initiatives when they put citizens at the center of their programs. It’s common to hear that government social media lags behind

Read More →

GSA Introduces News Genius to Decode Government Web

The federal government can now unlock the collaborative “genius” of citizens and communities to make public services easier to access and understand with a new free social media platform launched by GSA today at the Federal #SocialGov Summit on Entrepreneurship and

Read More →

State of the #SocialGov 2014

If the silos and barriers that separated our programs are smashed, what could we do to realize the full potential of innovation in public service? Whether you’re a citizen who needs better access to services, an entrepreneur looking to spark innovation in the marketplace, or a public servant who wants to get your mission done

Read More →

Managing, Measuring and Archiving with Hootsuite

Federal workers need to know more in social media than just how to send a tweet. Among other things, you also need to manage multiple accounts across platforms and languages; measure and report performance; and archive posts and comments for the public record. We dispelled the notion that technology limits agencies from tackling these challenges

Read More →

Instameets Combine In-person and Digital Engagement

Federal agencies continue to look for better ways to combine the benefits of online engagement and in-person action — Instameets can achieve this strategic goal by using Instagram with meetups to amplify the vision of your mission. Katie Harbath,

Read More →

Updating Blog Comment Policies

The difference between only distributing an online press release and opening up the benefits from a blogging community can be found in how your agency encourages and manages comments and engagement. An easily-referenced comment policy lets authors and contributors know what your agency’s guidelines are in order

Read More →

Advancing Forward: Best of Social Media in 2013 and Beyond

It was a very good year, as Frank Sinatra sang, in the field of social media for the federal government. Advances were made not only in the technologies applied by agencies, but also the policies and strategies that unlock their potential to improve services and reduce costs. I’d like to share with you just some

Read More →

Best Week Ever in #SocialGov: December Edition

(This is the next installment of an ongoing series charting the programs, events and people that make the emerging field of social media and data in government an exciting place to serve the public. Agencies are encouraged to submit their own stories for this travelogue of digital innovation.) From

Read More →

Facebook News Feed Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know

Facebook announced they are refining their algorithm this week to better identify and promote quality news content. This can and will affect your strategic performance, but what exactly makes “quality” content and how can your agency ensure they are on the winning side of this adjustment? We talked with Facebook about the changes, and the bottom

Read More →

Next SocialGov Summit: Challenge and Prize Competitions

A public prize spurred Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic, and this week social media managers across government will help a new generation of prize competitions take flight. These sessions aren’t just for social media managers who have held a challenge or are

Read More →

Hosting Successful Federal Twitter Chats

One way to leverage Twitter, beyond the basics of sending messages and engaging in dialogue, is to organize a Town Hall discussion, or Twitter chat. New guidance on preparing a live chat is now available, and we need your agencies to contribute your own policies

Read More →

Twitter Chat Guidance for Federal Agencies

A Twitter town hall, or Twitter chat, is an event where agencies invite public engagement for a scheduled time period during which users can ask questions or find out more information about a topic via Twitter, much like a webinar. The questions are tagged

Read More →

Best Week Ever in #SocialGov: 2

(This is the second installment of an ongoing series charting the programs, events and people that make the emerging field of social media and data in government From where I sit, I think we just had a great week in #socialgov. From a sold-out international forum that demonstrated how we can use free tools to

Read More →

Best Week in SocialGov Ever: 1

(This is the first installment of an ongoing series charting the programs, events and people that make the emerging field of social media and data in government an exciting place to serve the public. Agencies are encouraged to submit their own stories for this travelogue of digital innovation.) From where I sit, I think we

Read More →

SocialGov Summit Diagnoses Viral Gov

Agencies discuss how to make social media programs more sharable and engaging.

Read More →

Take Your Social Media Program From Rags to Riches

Are you a small or even one-deep government social media team who wonders how with limited resources you can still deliver the program citizens need? Do you have a larger team but still want to know how you can roll up your sleeves and make a change? If either

Read More →

Government Must Respond Rapidly to Social Media Hacking

[Editor’s note: Please watch the Jan. 15 , 2015, webinar on How Government Can Prepare for and Respond to Social Media Hacks. on our Youtube channel] The hacking of an Associated Press news account on Twitter this week, and its fallout, underscored the need for agencies

Read More →

Social Media Metrics for Federal Agencies

Social media is transforming how government engages with citizens and how it delivers service. Agencies are using social media to share information and deliver service more quickly and effectively than ever before. Increasingly, these tools are also being used for predictive and sentiment analysis—using the vast

Read More →

#SocialGov Summit Highlights Accessibility Challenges

The recent #SocialGov Summit on accessibility of government social media raised emerging issues faced by agencies in their effort to make sure the information citizens need is communicated to them when and how they need it. For many, the most eye opening exercise was simply to hear their tweets read back to them through an iPhone VoiceOver screen reader,

Read More →

Feds Shed Light on Dark Social

“Dark Social” media took the web by storm this week, unveiling to many the shadows in measuring your social media impact. This accounts for the majority of your traffic and yet lives untraced where standard metrics fear to tread (or simply cannot) — places like email and instant

Read More →

Social Data Unlocked for Next Generation Services

Today at the #SocialGov Summit for Social Media Week DC, we’ll showcase two new initiatives for citizens, agencies and small businesses that help unlock the full potential of social data for the next generation of government services and engagement. Leading innovators in government will also be on hand to show

Read More →