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Trends on Tuesday: Smartphone Ownership Reaching Saturation, Fueling Media Consumption

ComScore released a report with a lot of great data about how mobile digital media usage continues to explode in 2016. It has 70 pages of charts and information to digest. Here are seven key mobile trends and takeaways: Smartphones are exponentially driving digital media usage.** ** Digital media has tripled since 2013 and digital media use is being driven heavily by smartphones—up by 78% since 2013.

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Creating Connection with Instagram

I’ve been thinking a lot about Instagram lately. It’s pretty big, especially among the younger populations (AKA. Millennials). Actually, from what I can tell, it’s pretty big with lots of different age groups, genders, and ethnicities; and it’s growing every day. Full disclosure: I use Instagram in my personal life. I love it. Especially now that our phone cameras have improved beyond what most people can manage with a DSLR.

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The Content Corner: Harness the Power of User-Generated Content

As of 2015, Millennials spent 30% of their time consuming user-generated content (UGC), and 54% of that group find UGC more trustworthy than content generated by a specific brand. This covers everything from user-generated reviews on Yelp! to short-form videos. Another benefit of UGC is that it helps crowdsource the burden of feeding the content beast and can allow you to more fully engage not only with your customers, but with other staff within your agency that may not be a part of a typical content creation regime.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Messaging and Social App Research Released

On DigitalGov, we frequently talk about some of the most popular app experiences, and research almost always shows that mobile messaging and social apps are the most frequently used. Pew Research released a new report specifically about these wildly popular channels for mobile engagement, specifically focused on how youth use them, with some interesting results that government agencies should pay attention to for their digital strategies. The report author, Maeve Duggan, said, “The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs.

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Celebrating Parks, Creating Connections: NPS Prepares for 2016 Centennial

Planning your next national park adventure (from the comfort of your couch) is easier than ever with a new website, Find Your Park.com. Launched on April 2nd, the mobile-friendly FindYourPark.com was designed and launched by the National Park Foundation (NPF), the non-profit organization affiliated with the National Park Service (NPS). The website is part of the celebration campaign for NPS’s centennial in 2016. Nana Efua Embil, Assistant Centennial Coordinator for NPS, said that the goal of the FYP website aligns with the overall NPS centennial goal: connecting with and creating the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates.

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Hear My Tweet: National Museum of American History’s #HearHistory Tweetup

DC was the Silicon Valley of the 1880’s. And Alexander Graham Bell? He was more than just a telephone man. His Volta Laboratory was the premier 19th century innovation center. The work of Bell and his contemporaries is the focus of a new exhibition at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH), “Hear My Voice: Alexander Graham Bell and the Origins of Recorded Sound.” Included in the exhibit are never-before-seen lab documents as well as early recording discs.

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Tokens: Part II

In the first part of A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Tokens, I explained why we built a social media-driven image search engine, and specifically how we used Elasticsearch to build its first iteration. In this week’s post, I’ll take a deep dive into how we worked to improve relevancy, recall, and the searcher’s experience as a whole. Redefine Recency To solve the scoring problem on older photos for archival photostreams, we decided that after some amount of time, say six weeks, we no longer wanted to keep decaying the relevancy on photos.

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Tokens

Increasingly, we’ve noticed that our agency customers are publishing their highest quality images on social media and within database-driven multimedia galleries on their websites. These sources are curated, contain metadata, and have both thumbnails and full-size images. That’s a big improvement in quality over the images embedded within HTML pages on agencies’ websites. After some investigating, we decided we could leverage their Flickr and Instagram photos to build an image search engine that better met their needs.

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The Federal Register: Improving Visitors’ Search Experience on Agency Websites

The Office of the Federal Register’s mission “informs citizens of their rights and obligations, documents the actions of Federal agencies, and provides a forum for public participation in the democratic process.” As the winner of the Bright Idea Award, FederalRegister.gov is clear and easy to use, but most citizens rarely frequent it. More frequently they start searching for information on Google or on agency websites, where it is more difficult to discover pertinent rules and regulations.

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Sharing is Caring, Adding Social Media Accounts to Search

Content is no longer limited to your .gov website. Social media accounts also contain a treasure trove of information relevant to your site’s visitors. Keeping that in mind, DigitalGov Search has worked to bring all your content, wherever it is, to your search results. Finding something you didn’t know you were looking for is the best form of discovery, so make sure there are ample opportunities to find your content in all its forms.

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Ten Earth Day Activities in Digital Government

On this Earth Day, federal social media managers are hard at work, sharing and promoting what government and citizens can do to protect the environment. We’ve compiled a sample of the activities that also show how different agencies are using different social media tools in support of a common goal. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been leading the way all month, hosting Twitter chats every Tuesday at 2pm EDT, with the hashtag #ActOnClimate.

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Can Federal Agencies Use Getty Images’ Free Share Tool?

Earlier this month, stock photo giant Getty Images launched an embedded photo viewer, that permits sharing millions of its’ copyrighted images for free. The news generated headlines and questions about whether it’s okay for government content producers to use the tool. From Getty’s perspective, the answer is yes. The company’s main restriction is that the images be used for editorial, non-commercial purposes and government content meets this criteria.

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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, global lead for politics and government engagement at Facebook, joined us at DigitalGov University for a webinar to share with agencies how they can plan Instameets, and some of the nuts and bolts of managing Instagram.

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Instagram Now Available for Federal Agencies

Instagram is the latest mobile and social media tool available to federal, state and local governments to better engage with the public, with a newly negotiated government-compatible Terms of Service (TOS) agreement. GSA collaborated with Instagram to negotiate the amended terms, which brings the total number of tools with federal-compatible agreements to 65. Instagram is a free online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that allows its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

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