Emerging Tech


Why is LinkedIn So Popular With Employees of the US Army?

By Rebecca Carroll // August 25, 2014

Gil C/Shutterstock.com

More LinkedIn users list the U.S. Army as their current employer than any organization besides IBM and Hewlett-Packard, according to the professional networking website.

Some 231,973 users had self-affiliated with the Army as of Monday, according to the site. In addition to active military and civilian employees, LinkedIn users who say they currently work for the Army include special advisers, reservists, retirees and contractors.

Some 7,843 of these users said they worked in government administration and 4,489 said they worked in information technology.

It's unclear why the networking site is so popular with the branch's employees. The Army said it does not specifically endorse or promote LinkedIn.

“The Army has a social media handbook, but it doesn’t spell out what social media outlets to use,” Army spokesman Wayne Hall told Nextgov. “It just gives guidelines on what sort of things you can and cannot or should and should not share or post on social media venues.”

The latest version of the service’s social media handbook, published in January 2013, includes guidance for public affairs specialists as well as soldiers, their families and other Army personnel.

“People choose to use whatever online tools ...

We the People Weighs in on Ferguson

By Caitlin Fairchild // August 15, 2014

A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo.
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. // Jeff Roberson/AP

Following the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, protests erupted and local law enforcement responded with drastic action, causing many to call out the militarization of the police

But some citizens took a different route in hopes of making a difference, creating We the People petitions. One posted Aug. 13 requests a Mike Brown Law:

"Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state, county, and local police, to wear a camera.The law shall be made in an effort to not only detour police misconduct (i.e. brutality, profiling, abuse of power), but to ensure that all police are following procedure, and to remove all question, from normally questionable police encounters."

Currently with 44,337 signatures, the petition will require at least 55,663 more signatures by Sept. 12 to get an official response from the White House. 

A similar petition created around the same time only has 1,433 signatures and specifically requests that all police officers be required to wear Go-Pro cameras. Other petitions currently on the site call for other actions in Ferguson, including a request to send in federal troops.  

Is Anyone at Your Agency Editing Wikipedia?

By Rebecca Carroll // July 31, 2014

Gil C/Shutterstock.com

A Twitter bot recently set up to tweet out when people anonymously edit Wikipedia from congressional IP addresses has inspired a conversation among feds about how agencies should approach the online encyclopedia, according to a DigitalGov blog post.

After anonymous edits were broadcast by the Twitter bot and picked up by news outlets (including this one), Wikipedia last week issued a 10-day ban on edits coming from computers using the IP address associated with the House of Representatives, citing abuse and pointing to a series of questionable edits -- some of which I’ll list at the end of this post for your entertainment.

“The lesson here is that there is undoubtedly public interest in what is coming from the IPs of the federal government, and there is the potential for public controversy if it happens to be anonymous PR-type work (even if it’s just a small number of well-intentioned edits that didn’t stick) or worse,” wrote Dominic McDevitt-Parks, a digital content specialist and "Wikipedian-in-Residence" at the National Archives and Records Administration.

McDevitt-Parks explained how to find out if anyone at a particular agency is editing Wikipedia:

You’ll need to find out the IP range(s) associated with ...

The Most Valuable Data on Earth?

By Rebecca Carroll // July 22, 2014

NASA file photo

Earth data creates for the economy about 10 times what the U.S. government spends to gather it, and the White House wants that margin to grow even wider.

That’s the aim of the first National Plan for Civil Earth Observations, which the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released last week. The plan is a blueprint for federal Earth-observing projects “that help protect life and property, stimulate economic growth, maintain homeland security and advance scientific research and public understanding,” Timothy Stryker, who directs the U.S. Group on Earth Observations at OSTP, said in a blog post.

Stryker emphasized to Nextgov the value of the freely available and easily discoverable data. “Federal agencies manage a variety of observations of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land surfaces and the interactions among them,” he said. “Many kinds of Earth systems data are already available through agency Web portals and services, and we are working to make them even more discoverable through the administration’s various open data initiatives – including the Climate Data Initiative.”

Regular Nextgov readers know they benefit from government weather data in the form of forecasts, weather apps, satellite images and more. Earth observations also provide ...

If You’re Anonymously Editing Wikipedia from Capitol Hill, Everyone Will Know

By Rebecca Carroll // July 14, 2014

littleny / Shutterstock.com

There are socially acceptable ways to edit Wikipedia; anonymously from congressional offices is not among them.

Although Capitol Hill Wikipedia readers might have gotten away with the odd anonymous edit before last week, those changes are now tracked by @Congressedits, a self-described “bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the U.S. Congress.”

The crowd-edited Internet encyclopedia is not a mouthpiece for your boss’ political message, the reasoning goes, so even though just about anyone who reads the site can edit it, there are plenty of situations where you probably shouldn’t, including when you have any undisclosed conflict of interest.

(Definitely look at this Nextgov story from earlier this year: Should You Edit Your Agency’s Wikipedia Page? Probably Not)

In many cases, people have well-intentioned urges to edit their own Wikipedia entry (because they’re famous) or that of their boss or even a complete stranger. For instance, just a few minutes ago, a grammatically correct apostrophe was anonymously added to the Wikipedia entry for Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, by someone on Capitol Hill. That wasn’t the best way to go about it.

The e-encyclopedia’s most prolific editors cultivate a ...