Twitter nears the gov 2.0 tipping point

FederalComputerWeek was gracious enough to invite me to write a bit about Twitter and government for their July 9th issue.  Below is the introduction to the guest column; you can read the entire commentary over at FCW.

Social media tools such as Twitter are finding more formal roles in helping agencies meet their missions

Twitter, the fast-growing social media network that limits users to 140-character posts — or tweets, as they are known — is reaching another milestone in its meteoric growth as it seeks to hire its first-ever government liaison. The new Washington-based position is Twitter’s latest acknowledgment that government organizations worldwide, including the U.S. federal government, are fast becoming some of the most active users of its service.

During the past two years, I’ve been tracking much of this growth up close through my Web site,, an online social media directory for government agencies that use Twitter. GovTwit began with about 50 government and government-related Twitter IDs in 2008 and has rapidly expanded to include nearly 3,000 today.

Twitter’s search for a Washington presence is a nod to the rapid growth of government users and the fact that we are still early in this revolution called Government 2.0.

A passionate community of forward-thinking leaders in and around government proselytizes about the many benefits of open-government tools and channels. But for the most part, government agencies communicate with one another, the public and other governments in the same way they did in the Web 1.0 world. Simply put, organizational and cultural change in government hasn’t kept up with the pace of new technologies.

But we’re reaching a critical point at which scales might begin to tip toward increased adoption of tools such as Twitter into more formal roles to help agencies achieve their missions.

Read the second half of the column, including a list of examples of government using Twitter over at FederalComputerWeek.

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