FEMA starts channel on YouTube

Joining a handful of other federal agencies with an official presence on YouTube, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has established a channel on the popular Web site to publicize its disaster-recovery efforts in video format.

“Beginning in earnest in 2008, FEMA started efforts to integrate social media and new media into its communications and outreach efforts,” a news release from Jan. 6 stated. Those efforts included creating the FEMA Channel on YouTube along with a Twitter site, the release said.

So far, the FEMA Channel on YouTube. is not getting a lot of traffic for its 44 videos showing disaster-recovery efforts. Sixty-seven subscribers have signed up, generating  6,276 page views to date.

The most popular videos on the agency's channel show agency officials discussing temporary housing, federal disaster assistance and flood assistance. Although “moderated” comments are permitted on the site, there were no comments visible for the four videos reviewed by a reporter.

“We reserve the right to determine which comments are acceptable for this channel,” the agency states in a notice on the YouTube site. “We will, however, post and attempt to comment on legitimate questions and concerns regarding FEMA's mission and the agency's efforts to help communities and individuals prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.” FEMA said it would not retain the comments in its records.

YouTube hosts videos from thousands of sources, including commercial sources and individuals. It sponsors hundreds of channels with various partners.The most popular videos receive millions of views.

In addition to visiting the official FEMA channel, visitors to YouTube can view  videos submitted by individuals that reference content claiming to be related to FEMA, such as video snippets of television programs about the agency's disaster-relief efforts.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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