We never thought we’d say this either. But some of the best and most innovative new media experiments going on right now on the Internet are coming from the U.S. federal government.
For, example: Twitter. Turns out the messaging service’s 140 character limit and easy following/unfollowing is a really effective way to check up on our public servants. And it’s certainly easier to read than most .gov websites.
Compare some of the below government twitter feeds with the the mixed bag that have been corporate Twitter experiements, or the disaster when some journalistic enterprises (other than @alleyinsider) have tried to get in on the microblogging game. Here are a few of our favourites:
@CSIState – Country specific information and travel alerts from the US Department of State
@foodrecalls – The Food and Drug Adminsitration tweets when food products have been deemed unsafe, about once a day.
@jetlab – Rocket science from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
@NIHforHealth – Research reports of the National Institutes of Health
@PeaceCorps – Press releases from the Peace Corps
@TSABlogTeam – The Transportation Security Administration, which operates the widely-hated system of airport security checkpoints, links to a series of surprisingly thoughtful articles about its mission.
@USGS – The US Geological Survey. Not just rocks, also tweets about climate change, natural disasters, and alternative energy.
Of course, not every government twitter feed works well. A few that need to be rethought or dropped:
@HomelandSecurit – Department of Homeland Security. Tweets the national threat level (“yellow.”) Both the colour codes and this twitter should be abandoned.
@SenateFloor (and @HouseFloor) – US Senate/House actions. Actual tweet: “Vote: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Concur in the House Amdt. to the Senate Amdt. to.” Well-intentioned but not useful.
@USAgov – “Official web portal of the U.S. federal government.” Infrequently updated, tinyurl links go to the wrong pages.
@USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Tweets which CIS offices are closed — of value solely to CIS employees, not to its customers.
Got other favourites and turkeys? Let your fellow SAI readers know in the comments!
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