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7/8/2009
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Government Accountability Office Joins Social Media Revolution

The federal agency is using Twitter and YouTube to inform the public about its reports and mission.

The Government Accountability Office is getting a bit more accountable, beginning to inform the public about its reports and mission via public-facing social media sites YouTube and Twitter.

"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," Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general for the United States, said in a statement Tuesday.

The GAO writes analytical reports at the behest of Congress and report authors often testify on Capitol Hill. The GAO's Web site includes a searchable archive of the agency's reports, which mostly analyze the effectiveness of government programs, but the reports are not otherwise easy to find. So far, however, the GAO's social media efforts have been slow on the uptake. Tuesday's press release is one way to better inform the public of those efforts.

Two Twitter accounts launched in April, "usgaolegal" for legal decisions of contracting protests and "usgao" for analytical reports, act much like RSS feeds, informing readers of the latest releases. As of Wednesday afternoon, the two accounts had 931 followers, a far cry from the 627,000 followers of the official White House Twitter account.

The public has similarly been slow to latch onto the GAO's YouTube channel, which was launched on February 25. It has only 72 subscribers and has seen its page opened a total of 2,408 times, with videos getting as few as 25 views.


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