New crowdsourcing platform to improve public service

2014_03_Screen-Shot-2014-03-27-at-3.32.56-PM An image of GSA’s platform on News Genius, a collaborative work platform based on Rap Genius.

In an effort to “unlock the collaborative genius” of citizens, the General Services Administration has launched its newest social media platform, News Genius.

The annotation wiki, based on Rap Genius, features federal-friendly Terms of Service and allows users to enhance regulations, policies and other documents with in-depth explanations, background information and links to additional resources.


“In the hands of government managers, it will improve public services through citizen feedback and plain language, and will reduce costs by delivering these benefits on a free platform that doesn’t require a contract,” Justin Herman, social media program manager at the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, said in a statement.

The GSA Mentor-Protege program will also use News Genius to open its policies to annotations from current and past participants. According to Herman, News Genius will simplify the path to participate in the Mentor-Protege program by making it more understandable for citizens and partners. It will also make it easier to identify obstacles to participate in the program by leveraging crowdsourced feedback. GSA also said the free platform will enable more effective collaboration between entrepreneurs and the public.

The first document open for annotation can be found on Herman’s blog on the GSA site; agencies are able to host the documents on the News Genius website, annotate from the app on their mobile device or embed the annotations on a government blog or site.

So far, there have been more than 40 annotations, more than 25 of which have been verified.

GSA introduced News Genius at today’s Federal SocialGov Summit on Entrepreneurship and Small Business, hosted by the Federal SocialGov community and Small Business Administration. The SocialGov Summits are an ongoing effort by GSA to make education and training more readily available to government employees.

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