Government Social Networking: Adding a Little More Panic to Your Life

Social networking is now recognized as a powerful tool for keeping followers, friends, fans and customers engaged in everything from information to products. But one of the more unknown uses for social networking is government organizations. As social networking becomes more and more powerful its clear to see that it can be used as another means of keeping the public informed of government issues and services. Along with TV and radio, the internet is now among the top sources of information people use to stay connected. While not as prominent as some of your typical social network users, government has at least made an attempt to get on board with this internet phenomenon. So get ready to head to the grocery store to horde water and stockpile supplies because here's a few government bodies that use social networking you may not have been aware of.

One such example in the use of government social networking is the CDC or Center for Disease Control. (@CDCGov ) As if in today's world there wasn't already cause for unnecessary wide spread panic, one can now follow the CDC for all their global pandemic needs. The CDC Twitter and Facebook post daily on health related topics as well as link to health information on many disease outbreaks and possible health concerns. For those concerned about health related issues local and nationwide it is an informative place to either make you want to sterilize your entire house, or to separate fact from fiction on health related issues. One interesting thing the CDC does is putting a face on the people who run the show. @CDCgov retweets many tweets that it's own doctors post. This gives a name and a face to the organization, which helps the public feel more comfortable when interacting with the CDC. If you are at all concerned with the general health of the nation, or just want to be informed when the zombie outbreak finally happens, you really can't go wrong following the CDC. With over 250 thousand likes on Facebook and close to 120 thousand followers on Twitter the CDC actually does a fairly good job of keeping their posts up to date and frequent. Like any good disease control agency the CDC rarely responds to comments on Facebook or Twitter, preferring instead to let its followers panic alone.  Engaging the public from topics ranging from Meningitis outbreaks to preventing teen violence its safe to say their target audience can span from people concerned with quality of life, to people just looking to keep tabs on current diseases outbreaks.

Another example of a more localized use of social networking would be Los Angeles Fire Department. Since fire departments everywhere are usually a full service life saving agency, they are called out to almost every emergency imaginable. Do you hear those sirens going on in the distance? Why not follow the LAFD  and they will inform you exactly what it is. And I mean exactly! @LAFD tweets almost every car accident, fire response  and rescue you could ever want to know about. It's safe to say their social networks are targeted towards that special curiosity that all humans seem to possess. Now instead of gathering around the scene of an accident we can gawk from our keyboards at the ensuing chaos. While the LAFD mainly uses twitter as a means to detail all incidents it responds to, (enough to make even the most stalwart statistician cringe, its use of Facebook mixes in a bit more personable taste to the social network community. It showcases a few prominent members that are important to the department as well as mixing in a few disasters here and there just to keep you on your toes. The LAFD Facebook does actually respond to comments to it's citizens which works well to keep the public engaged.

I know I jest about the panic some of these social networking tools provide when in the hands of certain government organizations. But just the mere fact that these organizations are using social networking tell us something. No longer is TV and Radio the predominant source for staying informed. With the ability to follow and be notified when these departments post, we can all happily subscribe and watch from our computers screens or mobile devices as madness descends all around us.

Center for Disease Control
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CDC
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CDCgov

Los Angeles Fire Department
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesFireDepartment
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LAFD


How to avoid Time Warner Cable's rental fee: Buy your own modem.

Recently Time Warner Cable announced that as of 10/15/12 it would start charging its customers a "modem rental fee" at the price of $3.95 a month. You may have read about it online, seen it on the back of your paper cable bill or you may or may not have been aware about this new charge at all. However, TWC has allowed its customers to purchase their own modems (from a list of approved modems) and allow a waiver of the rental fee. So the choice is simple, you can go purchase your own modem or you can do nothing and pay the $4 a month.

 Either way it is important to think about your decision to act or not to act. First lets do some math. The modems for purchase in question, are going to run you anywhere from $50-$60 depending on where you find it. Once you purchase your modem that's all the money you are going to spend for it. If you do not purchase it however you will pay $4 a month for....how many months do you think you will continue having broadband cable internet; 2 years, 5 years? Or if you are like me, you never plan to see yourself without broadband internet. Then we are talking costs much higher than simply buying a modem.

After about a year's worth of the fee (12 months X $4) you will have paid $48 dollars. That's pretty close to the cost of just buying a modem. So the modem will have paid itself off after a year. After 5 years (5 X $48) you will have paid $240 dollars, for a $50 modem. And for most of us, the modem that we go buy ourselves is the exact same model that TWC provided us. So deciding not to go out and buy your own modem and waive the rental fee is going to cost you more money in the long run.  Which brings me to my last point.

Some of you may read this and still be thinking "What!? Modems? I don't know anything about that, that sounds complex" Well I'm here to tell you it really isn't. Below are the simple steps to owning and setting up your own cable modem.

Step 1:
Go to Time Warner Cable's website and consult their Approved Modem List, and find your approved modems. Most of us are going to be under Approved DOCSIS 2.0 Modems. (DOCSIS 2.0 just means you have standard internet package. If you were DOCSIS 3.0 'turbo' you would probably know it) But if you are unsure you can always call Time Warner cable and ask. Here is the link for their approval list.

Step 2:
Buy one of the modems from the list. TWC even provides a list of good places to purchase your new modem. I would recommend Amazon.com, Walmart, or Newegg.com.

Step 3:
Call Time Warner Cable and tell them you want to set up your own modem so you can get the rental fee waived. The Customer Service Rep will have you read the HFC MAC ID number that is located on the bottom of your new modem. (when reading the letters and numbers to them be very articulate. For example, N as in Nancy, B as in Bravo, etc) This number is what TWC sees to allow you to use their internet service). They will then tell you to hook up the new modem.

Step 4:
Hook up the new modem. First unplug your Ethernet cable, then your coaxial cable, then unplug the power cable from the back of the TWC modem. Now just take your new modem and screw in the coaxial cable, plug in your Ethernet cable, and finally plug in the power cable. The modem will automatically turn on. Give it a few moments and then the phone person will tell you that they see your modem and have you test to make sure you have internet. Open a browser and go to a website and confirm that you are connected to the internet.

Step 5:
When you've got some time, return the old TWC modem back to Time Warner Cable with that smug look of satisfaction you most certainly will have now. (plus you have to return it to have that rental fee waived)

It's as simple as that! Now you can rejoice in all that money you have saved yourself (after a year of course). Give yourself a pat on the back, you are now the proud owner of your very own cable  modem! Now you can brag to all of your friends about the massive hardware upgrade you preformed.


How to: Change which Google account is linked to your Youtube account.

Sooner or later we may be faced with admitting that we have to grow up. Yes, I know, terrible right? But it's going to happen and some of us may realize that screen names we created back in the care-free years are no longer appropriate. So sorry all you SexyPrincess4u's and you PunkRebel666's, but a time may come when you'd rather not have your boss or coworkers see what your  handle was when you were 15. So if you are on board, here's a method to detached your old Google account name from YouTube  and attach it to the new....sophisticated you:

It should be noted that once you migrate to a new Google account you will NOT have the option to migrate again. And this option is only available if you have a YouTube account created with an old user name and log in. 

 At the top right of the screen click the down arrow to open the drop down menu. Click on settings. In the Overview  find your old name and click the Advanced link underneath it.

Next click on Change Google Account. 

Now you will need to unlink your YouTube account from your the current Google account attached to it. First verify that you are human in Section A. Then click Unlink My Account button. Afterward you will need to reattach it to your new Google account or create a new account for it to be linked to.

Now that your YouTube account is unlinked. You'll need to link it to a new Google account. Assuming that you already have another Google account ready, click Link to an existing Google Account.

On this screen sign in to your new account by entering the password. If this isn't the account you want to link to click Sign in as a different user. When you are ready click the Link accounts button.

Lastly, confirm that you are linking your YouTube account to the new, more mature, Google account. From here you will go through a series of 'house cleaning' options to delete videos or comments from you account. Don't ignore this part, you'd be surprised some of the stuff that came out of your mouth.

And that's it! Your YouTube account is now linked to your new Google account. You're all set to put on that suit and tie, get out in the real world, and make something of yourself.