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Rounds Resistance to Social Media Has Harmful Policy Implications

Marion Michael Rounds's resistance to using social media reveals his haughty unwillingness to meet voters where they are. That's one good reason to vote for Rick Weiland or Stace Nelson instead of Rounds for U.S. Senate.

Rounds's cluelessness about social media and the Internet also has policy implications. Consider a project the Navy is working on to use social media for disaster preparedness:

Social media is becoming a primary source of information during disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. In an effort to more efficiently utilize social media data for situational awareness and emergency response, the U.S. Navy is funding a software prototype to crowdsource situational awareness, called Crowd-SA.

The prototype is currently in an early developmental stage -- a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. The Navy selected Modus Operandi to develop the software, and if it is green lit, it may be developed into a multi-million dollar project.

...[S]ince people act as remote sensors during a crisis, data like tweets, photos and posts on social media platforms could be crowdsourced from areas impacted by a disaster. Social media data, then, could help multi-headed command centers get a better grasp of the magnitude of a disaster and respond accordingly [Sarah Rich, "Navy Explores Potential of Social Media Crowdsourcing in Disaster Response," Government Technology, 2013.09.09].

Suppose the Navy likes what Modus Operandi develops and asks Congress to fund full-fledged development and deployment of this crowdsourced disaster-intel project. Suppose junior Senator Marion Michael Rounds is sitting in his office literally penciling fundraisers onto his calendar. He listens with one ear to an aide's summary of the Navy's memo on Crowd-SA, hears the words crowdsourcing, social media, and Twitter, and glances up. "What?" he says in his crotchetiest outdoor-plumbing voice. "The Navy's spending money on that Internet stuff again? I get by just fine without the Internet!" He turns back to his penciled notes, and we lose an easy opportunity to use ubiquitous technology for the public good.

Because Mike Rounds doesn't use social media, he's likely to understand why other people and offices might find it useful. And in the Internet era, failing to understand the value of Internet services causes businesses and governments to fail.

Mike Rounds may be GOP fundraisers' man of the hour, but he's not a Senator for this century.


  1. El Rayo X 2013.09.10

    So what you're saying is, that Mike Rounds hasn't joined the lemmings and got in line for the "new" iPhone?

  2. Jerry 2013.09.10

    No El Rayo X, I think what the article is about is how can anyone in this day, not be savvy to the information highway. To me, it really makes sense as to why Marion ran the state into the ground with huge deficits and no way of recovering the loss, in short (pun intended) he does not think forwardly. To me, Marion would be happy with two tin cans and a string.

  3. Rorschach 2013.09.10

    59 of 100 US senators are currently over the age of 60, as Mike Rounds will be if he is elected in 2014. Do we need more 60+ people in that position?

    The oldest US governor right now is Jerry Brown at 75, but that guy doesn't look a day over 60. Shouldn't the US have at least one governor pushing 80 but reminiscent of Jack LaLanne?

    SD can and should cater to the underrepresented folks next year by electing a younger senator and an older governor (-;

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