Dear Federal Reserve Bureaucrat,

By Davi Barker

If you’re reading this you were probably recently hired as part of the Federal Reserve’s new social media monitoring program. Chances are you’re part of some make-work federal job placement program. You probably don’t completely understand who it is that you’re working for, and what it is that you’re doing. So, I can’t really hold it against you. I’d like to welcome you to our little corner of the Internet, and offer you some sincere advice.

You’re a bureaucrat now, so it’s important that you learn ways to avoid doing work. Otherwise you’re going to raise the bar for all your new bureaucrat friends, and they won’t like you anymore. I mean let’s face it, you’ve got a pretty sweet gig. Wouldn’t want to mess that up. So, let’s take a look at this recent “request for proposal” your bosses sent out for the creation of a “social listening platform” and see if we can’t find some corners you can cut.

You’re looking for a social media monitoring company to design a program for you that can, “gather data from various social media outlets and news sources” to “guide the organization’s public relations group.” I was wondering if you’d ever heard of a website called, “Google”? It’s pretty useful for that, and it’s got a lot of interesting tools that might make your job a lot easier, if not completely obsolete. Stop me if I’m going too fast. I know how you bureaucrats are easily confused, and some of this may seem a little newfangled.

You’ve asked that the program “be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube.” and that it should also be able to, “aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva etc.” Boy are you going to be excited! If you go over to Google there’s this thing called a “Search Engine.” It does all of that! There’s even a navigation bar at the top that lets you limit your searches to news, or video, or blogs. You can even search in the shopping section and see who’s selling anti-Fed merchandise. Just don’t bother with the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. It’s totally useless.

You’ve asked that the program, “provide an alerting mechanism that automatically sends out reports or notifications based on a predefined  trigger.” Well, Google has this service called Google Alerts. You can set up ongoing automated web searches, and even specify what section it searches, how often it searches and what volume of search results you want to receive. And it’s all delivered to you by email! If you’ve got a smartphone you can even view the results from the golf course. Ask Obama. He uses a Blackberry.

You want a program to “generate text analytics.” Google’s Deeper Web does that. You want it to “Spot emerging trends.” Google Trends does that. You want a “dashboard that can easily be accessed by internal analysts” and “track the reach and spread of your messages and press releases.” Google Analytics has that.

But that’s just Google. Twitter and Facebook have all their own useful tools. In fact there are dozens, if not hundreds of different free analytics services around the Internet. It truly is a Brave New World!

I’m sure if you’ve done any work at all, you’re reading a lot of bloggers that are angry about this social media monitoring thing. They’re probably calling you all kinds of nasty names, like “Big Brother,” or “Scumbag.” But here we’re your friends. We understand that bureaucrats are far too incompetent to be perpetuating any kind of global fiat conspiracy. In fact, you’re probably completely baffled why the U.S. Dollar has lost 98% of it’s purchasing power since they started “stabilizing” it. We know that, like most bureaucrats, you are decades behind the rest of the population. It’s cute, really. The Federal Reserve reading Facebook and Twitter. So keep reading. Maybe you’ll learn something about your new employer.

In closing, you’ve expressed that you want to, “identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers.” Maybe it’s hubris on my part to categorize myself in that camp, but I’d like to reach out to you. Whenever you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to look me up. We’ll go out for coffee and catch up. I’ll print the money this time. I’m sure you can get my address and contact info from the FBI.

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