GAO sets up shop at YouTube, Twitter

The move is an effort to take the agency's products to the people

The Government Accountability Office has begun making its video products available on YouTube and has established feeds on the Twitter micro-blogging service to announce release of new documents and reports.

The new channels are a recognition of the agency’s need to make its content available on the increasingly popular online platforms rather than waiting for people to come to the Web site at www.gao.gov, a spokesman said. The YouTube video site is being used as a primary online search tool by growing segment of the public, especially young people, and Twitter is competing with e-mail and texting as a medium for alerts.

“While we’ve made extensive use of the Internet for some time, posting material on YouTube and Twitter offers new possibilities to inform people about our efforts to promote accountability and transparency in federal programs and operations,” said Gene L. Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the United States and head of GAO.

The YouTube channel has been around for a few months but was announced by the agency today. So far the channel has 58 subscribers and has recorded 1,796 views. It grew out of the Transition Web Site established by GAO last November to publish information on issues facing the incoming Obama administration. That site contained a series of short videos that provided overviews of the issues and was the GAO’s most extensive use of video to date. The material generated a lot of interest and led to creation of additional video content and the establishment of the YouTube channel.

GAO also provides links to the underlying reports and testimony for viewers interested in more detailed information in the agency’s findings.

The Twitter feeds, also announced today, are only a few weeks old and so far have over 500 followers. It alerts users of releases of GAO documents, containing the same information contained on the Web site's daybook and its e-mail alerts. There are two Twitter feeds, one for reports and testimony and another for legal products. Users can go to one of these links to set up accounts and automatically receive notices of new GAO releases.

The General Services Administration has established terms-of-use agreements for agencies using new generation online services such as Twitter and YouTube. GAO is the latest of more than 50 agencies and members of Congress using Twitter. A number of agencies, including the Library of Congress and NASA, are using YouTube.


About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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