It’s very possible that your favorite (or the one that you despise the most) government agency twitters. As I wrote in a previous post the GSA has worked out terms and conditions with many new media sites so that government agencies can use them.
How about the head of the U.S. Armed Forces, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Want up to the minute news on what these guys are doing? Follow Admiral Mike Mullen for the latest decisions and discussions.
Getting to the state and local level your state legislators may already twiitter. 19 senators and 50 members of the House of Representatives are all using the service to post news. You can find out what members of Congress twitter from here, or two websites that carry all of their postings, the Congressional 140 site and TweetCongress. The last two are volunteer run sites so if you want to step up and help…
Another web site, GovTwit, run by Bearing Point’s Steve Lunceford, tracks people in government agencies who twitter. At last count, 1,060 names are on the list. Bearing Point is a global management and technology consulting company with close ties to the US government.
I’ve never been a twitterer. Maybe I should look into it..
“We need to get official information out to sites where people are already visiting and encourage them to interact with their government,” said GSA Acting Administrator Paul Prouty. “The new agreements make it easier for the government to provide official information to citizens via their method of choice.”
The agencies are free to choose which of the sites they will use and what content that they can or will post on those sites. The GSA did not take the contracts to that level. Instead they standardized the terms and agreements with those sites so that the agencies can make the choice of which sites and what content to post. This frees the agencies to use the sites they believe will best get their message out to the American people.
The GSA negotiated on behalf of all agencies to standardize the terms and agreements. All of the sites were reluctant to negotiate separate agreements with the hundreds of different agencies because of the costs and time involved.
“Several federal agencies helped to negotiate these agreements, so it’s hoped that other agencies will find the language acceptable,” said GSA Acting Associate Administrator Martha Dorris.
GSA said it started with Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and blip.tv because those providers are innovative and have large audiences. However, the agency would like to negotiate agreements with many additional providers.
Agencies are already free to use Twitter because GSA found its standard terms of service compatible with federal use.
If a governments agency is not yet on your favorite social networking site give them some time. The GSA is looking at more sites so that they can expand the offering.