GSA: More social media apps free for the taking

The General Services Administration has added 13 free social media applications for federal agencies on its Apps.gov website since spring 2010, bringing the total to 51.

The new applications added since March 2010 include Challenge.gov, a platform for government contests; SocialOomph, a productivity tool that lets users schedule tweets in advance and shorten Web addresses; Xtranormal, a video-making application with cartoon figures; and Yammer, a private social network application.

GSA said it negotiated terms of service for federal agencies with vendors for each of the 51 applications, which are grouped into 15 categories. GSA also said public terms of service for Twitter are acceptable to federal agencies, so no additional terms needed to be negotiated.


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Most of the 15 social media application categories on Apps.gov have two or more applications to choose from, but several have no competition with only a single application in that category available to agencies. For example, in the Real Simple Syndication and other Syndicated Feeds category, the only available application is FeedBurner. For Mobile Geolocation Tools, the only listing is FourSquare. And for Mobile Apps Store, the only one is Blackberry App World.

The most popular categories are video and photo sharing with eight applications available, including YouTube, Flickr and Hulu; and social networking, with seven applications that include Facebook and MySpace.

There are applications for analytics and search, blogging, sharing, display of multimedia and maps, and idea generation and discussion, among others.

GSA did not specify on its website when it approved each new application for Apps.gov. GSA officials said on June 3 that information was not immediately available.

Last year, David McClure, associate administrator for the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, told a congressional committee that the GSA’s Apps.gov website offered 38 social media applications as of March 2010.

The social media applications on Apps.gov are described as cloud applications, or software-as-a-service, because they offer on-demand access to computing services via a network rather than a local computer.

“Social media apps make it easier to create and distribute content and discuss the things we care about and help us get the job done,” the GSA states on Apps.gov.

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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