NoVA Communicators Newsletter – November 2013

In this Issue

Fugate’s Digital Push Includes Improved FEMA App, Social Media as Two-Way Dialog

During a media call on Sept. 10, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was asked about the recent study, Social Media in the Emergency Management Field, which found that the main reason emergency managers are not using social media is a lack of dedicated staff. He said emergency managers, even those with no staff, should find ways to incorporate social media into their operations. “There are emergency managers in very small shops, even one-person operations, who are using social media,” Fugate said. “Those interested in creating a two-way dialog can capitalize on its capabilities. We need to stop just using social media as a megaphone to broadcast information and instead use it to have a two-way conversation with the public.” Under Fugate’s direction, FEMA continues to push forward with transitioning the federal agency nationally into the digital age.
Read More… said to be turning to tech giants for help

In a move that could be described by the cliche “better late than never,” it appears the US government has finally reached out to the experts to fix the beleaguered Details are minimal at the moment, but CNBC broke the news via Twitter on Thursday shortly before noon PT that the Obama administration has tapped at least three Silicon Valley heavyweights to fix the problematic Web site: Google, Oracle, and Red Hat.
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Twitter now highlighting photos and videos on site, mobile apps

Twitter users are posting an average of 500 million tweets a day, and many of those contain photos and videos.
As part of a new software update for its app on Android and iPhone, as well as to its Web site, the company says it’s made media “more visual and more engaging” for those tweets with previews that show up underneath.
These images (or short video snippets from Vine) now pop up just below images instead of a link that users previously needed to tap within the company’s official app.
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Twitter News Consumers: Young, Mobile and Educated

Nearly one-in-ten U.S. adults (8%) get news through Twitter, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Compared with the 30% of Americans who get news on Facebook, Twitter news consumers stand out as younger, more mobile and more educated. In addition, a separate Pew Research analysis of conversations on Twitter around major news events reveals three common characteristics: much of what gets posted centers on passing along breaking news; sentiments shift considerably over time; and however passionate, the conversations do not necessarily track with public opinion.
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8 things never to say during your presentation

We have all sat through many presentations in our professional lives. Unfortunately, far too many of them are “less than awesome.” Unfortunately, we see some specific failures over and over. In other words, the wrong things are repeated by those who aren’t thinking or don’t know any better. Here are eight things that you have probably heard in many presentations, and which aren’t worth repeating.
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9 Breaking News Tweets That Changed Twitter Forever

Twitter has revolutionized global news delivery and consumption. On top of the Twitter milestones that went down in history and dozens of memorable Twitter images, Twitter often breaks news before mainstream media can report it. These nine stories represent the power of citizen journalism, plus the business strategy behind using Twitter to share major news. Our list is by no means exhaustive, so please share in the comments below any other notable news stories you recall that broke on Twitter.
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Building Addictive Mobile Apps for Citizens and Employees

You have a budget and marching orders to design your agency’s first mobile app. Building it shouldn’t be difficult, but how do you ensure the app is a success? According to experts, the first priority is to keep it simple. Developers and company executives agree that governments should tailor an app to serve a specific function, instead of forcing it to handle multiple issues. An app that is tightly focused is likelier to see widespread adoption among both internal and external users.
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Isabel was ‘Transformational’ for Va. Utilities, Emergency Managers

Hurricane Isabel was a watershed for Richmond-based Dominion Virginia Power and state emergency managers. “It was transformational in every way for all of us,” said Rodney Blevins, Dominion Virginia Power’s vice president for distribution operations. In the widespread scope of its impact, the 2003 storm was the worst natural disaster Virginia has ever sustained, said Michael Cline, the state’s coordinator of emergency management.
Read More… First New Look in a Decade

With an aim to connect residents to city happenings, New York has re-launched its website,, as part of a long-term strategy to engage visitors and residents in a customized and user-friendly way. The site, launched at the end of September, had not seen a major update since 2003 and was included as part of New York City’s Digital Roadmap, a tech overhaul spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to revitalize the city’s communication and technology sector.
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Seattle Video Voters’ Guide Offers Raw Look at Local Politics

In modern elections, cutting through the political noise can be tough. Candidates with deep pockets typically benefit from well-crafted statements, flashy campaign graphics and waves of TV ads to spin voters to their side. Yet Seattle and King County may have found a way to reduce the political confusion, at least in part. The answer? Free unedited two-minute videos for all candidates, published online and broadcast on local television. A joint project including government stations King County TV, the Seattle Channel, and the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has produced a General Election Video Voters’ Guide to help local King County and Seattle residents have an unedited look at political candidates and legislative proponents. The nonpartisan video guide asks candidates and representatives of ballot measures to speak on the key planks of their political platform.
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Kansas City Measures Performance through Online Dashboard

To follow through on its commitment to provide more visibility into city performance, Kansas City, Mo., launched KCStat Dashboard on Oct. 22, an online tool that displays progress on city goals and objectives. Developed by government data company Socrata, the dashboard is the city’s way of offering residents more information about government performance with real-time data, said Julie Steenson, a performance analyst for the city. Upon full implementation, the dashboard will display various statistics, from citizen satisfaction percentages to progress on maintenance and repair tasks.
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Google and San Francisco Launch Real-Time Crisis Map

In the event of future emergencies that may strike San Francisco, the city plans to launch a new online crisis map with real-time displays of affected areas so residents can respond appropriately. The map, dubbed Crisis Mode, is currently running live in conjunction with SF72 – a new open source digital platform that provides online resources and updates for emergency preparedness – and was developed by, the search engine’s charitable arm. In the event of a city emergency, the crisis map becomes the home page of SF72.
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