XP Operating System End of Life

Posted by Colleen Brickey, Hardware Services Manager

Microsoft announced last year that support and security updates will no longer be available for its popular old operating system after April 8, 2014.  Ultimately it’s the end of life for any and all XP computers.  That doesn’t mean the computers will immediately become unusable, but they may be more vulnerable to hackers.  The US House of Representatives takes this very seriously and has given everyone on the Hill, including Vendors – directive to upgrade or remove these computers for all offices with the XP operating systems by April 8th. 

Our maintenance team has been upgrading and replacing computers for this project since August last year.  We have been feverishly working to ensure none of our offices have any problems after the deadline next week.   Come April 8th – there will be no more XP computers allowed on the House network, whether it is in the office or remotely.   This includes personal computers that are used to log in from home using VPN.   So even if you do not plan on upgrading your personal computer – you will not be able to connect to the US House of Representatives network and access such things as your email, shared folders, your desktop in the office, etc.   On April 8th the InfoSecurity team will disallow any and all XP machines from connecting and you will not be allowed to connect until the computer is upgraded. 

Is there a way to fix this??    Yes – call your local iConstituent support team!  We can help you do the upgrade for any US House of Representatives owned laptop. For personal laptops and computers, you can buy the Windows 7 upgrade from Microsoft. It’s not too difficult, but it really is important to the security and safety of your information on your machine.  

Social Media Best Practices

Posted by Keith Matthews, Digital Media Intern

woman and man hands with smartphone and tablet pc - stock photoWith social media developing rapidly as a platform for information, communication, business and personal usage, there should be no surprise that politicians across the country are viewing social media as a tremendous opportunity for political exchange and as a link to their constantly growing followers.

A path to success.The rise of Twitter and Facebook for example, give politicians a vehicle for instant self promotion to inform the public about what their views are on pressing issues and their current agenda, as well as the capability to shape the outcomes of campaigns. The ability for politicians to be in touch instantly with friends, colleagues, and potential voters continues to grow. The recent success of Barack Obama’s campaign shows he spent a whopping $43 million dollars more in “Digital Campaigns” than rival Mitt Romney.

So is there a right way to post on social media networks? YES! Posting in general has become so easy to do that even the kid across the street could give you a lesson. However, we don’t recommend taking a tutorial from little Billy. Politicians are facing questions such as “Why don’t I have many likes or retweets?” and “I know I’m reaching my followers but am I making an impact with the broader audience?” Yet, through trial and error we have learned that social networking is all about delivering the right message in the right context at just the right time, or in short Marketing.

Timing is everything. On Facebook, posts receive half of their reach within 30 minutes! Recently Socialbakers, was able to determine the ideal time for posting. As a user that is attempting to have their message spread to thousands daily, figuring out when your clients are most likely to see your posts is essential.

You want to give the audience you’re reaching great examples of why they should follow your content and keep up with your updates. Too many fall in the trap of just solely posting a statement every couple of weeks and therein lies the issue. Exciting and bold new updates that draw readers in and make them want to see more is identical to being on the edge of your seat every Sunday when RG3 made a big play. (Let’s hope that happens again this generation).The key is the WOW factor. Without it, your post is equal to your competitors, and no politician in the U.S.A wants to be exactly like the individual their campaigning to defeat. 




Keep it simple. With every year that passes, the news breaks a story about a politician’s comment that is deemed unacceptable or lands them in hot water. With social media accounts built into our smart phones, a simple mistake of posting an offensive comment can be quickly seen (and recorded forever) with serious ramifications. Take heed of what you post, and keep a vigilant eye on current events and connections. You’ll be well on your way to social media greatness, and maybe, just maybe be able to teach little Billy a thing or two along the way.



Thoughts on Cyber Security

At iConstituent, we have learned important lessons about cyber security and how small companies can manage their cyber security risk. We have hired some of the best security experts we could find and made substantial upgrades in our security infrastructure to protect our company’s assets and our customers’ information. Most importantly, we have learned that nobody can guarantee they are absolutely secure, and even small companies need to invest in being as secure as possible.

Read more at Connected Government.