Toting up federal tweets

Social media management firm offers a glimpse into why some agencies hit their tweeting stride more often than others.

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Not all tweets are created equal, nor are Twitter accounts always handled with the same sense of savvy.

Measured Voice, which provides social media management, tries to provide a glimpse into what makes a tweet from the federal government flare across the Twitterverse -- and why some agencies tend to hit their tweeting stride more often than others.

Using the accounts on the federal social media registry, Measured Voice set up Great Gov Tweets, which posts the top 50 federal tweets of the previous day using an algorithm that takes into account retweets, favorites and the number of followers an agency has. The more followers, the more engagement (measured in retweets and favorites) a specific tweet needs in order to have it crack the top 50.

So NASA and the White House, the social media juggernauts of the federal sector, need many more retweets of Mars Curiosity or Bo the dog to appear on Great Gov Tweets than agencies with fewer followers. So even though the Department of Interior has a comparatively meager 123,000 followers --compared with the millions who follow NASA and the White House -- its tweets make consistent appearances on Great Gov Tweets.

An Interior tweet to start the week rounded out the top 10, reminding Americans that access to all public lands  was free of charge on Veterans Day. Interior's tweet of a picture of Grand Teton National Park came in at second on Sunday.

"Interior regularly punches above its weight," said Jed Sundwall, president of Measured Voice. "And it is thanks to having really, really great content."

Hard to beat the Tetons, Yosemite or the Everglades for viewing pleasure.

A quick rundown of the federal Twitterverse with analytics from Measured Voice:

  • There are approximately 3,000 accounts on the federal social media registry, more than 2,000 of those on Facebook and Twitter.
  •  Federal agencies send about 1,400 tweets daily (study from July to October).
  • Not all agencies are always active, however. The most frequent number of tweets that federal accounts send on any given day is zero.
  • The State Department has 160 separate Twitter accounts.
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