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Reader skeptical of Congress's Twitter-friendliness

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After a reading our article suggesting that some members of Congress could give agencies Twitter tips, an unidentified reader commented:  But agencies don't dare go on Twitter because these same Republican congressmen will ding us for using it, and call up their buddies at FOX and Drudge and Daily Caller or Politico to have them help demagogue their attacks.

Adam Mazmanian responds: Perhaps the opening of my article overstated the case a bit – plenty of federal agencies are using Twitter to communicate their efforts and engage with interested citizens. Back in September, FCW compiled this handy list of the most-followed federal accounts on Twitter. NASA tweets out pictures of planets and news of space probes to an audience of more than 3.8 million followers. He's nowhere near as popular, but FEMA administrator Craig Fugate is a one-stop shop for news about cataclysms of every stripe. USAID coordinator Raj Shah is a prolific Twitter user, sharing news about his travels as head of a foreign assistance and development agency.

So the reader's point is perhaps best taken with a grain of salt. High-profile government officials who are in the partisan crosshairs do make inviting social media targets. Attorney General Eric Holder, for instance, is parodied in several fake Twitter accounts. But personal attacks like these don't typically attract a lot of attention, even if their subjects find them irritating. And they don't appear to have stopped agencies from starting Twitter accounts.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM

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