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Bugs in your lemon trees? USDA has an app for that!

Jun. 13, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
The Agriculture Department's 'Save Our Citrus' app allows users to share photos with USDA experts and with other producers. The app enables feedback on concerns such as insect damage, herbicide use, and general production questions.
The Agriculture Department's 'Save Our Citrus' app allows users to share photos with USDA experts and with other producers. The app enables feedback on concerns such as insect damage, herbicide use, and general production questions. (USDA)

As Americans spend more time on mobile devices agencies are taking steps to better incorporate social media tools into mobile apps, according to a blog post on DigitalGov.gov.

Agencies are using many different techniques uploading and posting directly to a personal social media account, such as a visitor posting a USAJobs.gov opening to Facebook. Inviting others to “like” or “follow” agencies through agency apps. Or Crowdsourcing via social media to engage users and visitors on a range of issues.

Related: Learn how agencies are solving mobility challenges

Some of the apps using these methods include:

■The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which uses crowdsourcing in its Dolphin and whale 911 App by encouraging users to take and share pictures of injured marine mammals with rescue organizations.

■The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which allows users to upload and share information on vehicle safety to its app SaferCar.

■The Agriculture Department’s Save our Citrus app, where users are able to upload and share photos with citrus experts within the agency in order to get information on insect damage, herbicide consultations and questions on citrus.

The average user now spends more time on a mobile device than on a traditional PC, according to Zeshan Khan and Katie Steffy in the blog post, which means agencies must adapt their strategies to fit those new habits.

“This yields a significant opportunity for consumer interaction with federal agencies’ mobile apps, not just websites, and social media outlets,” the authors wrote.

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