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Imagine a fed govt msg of 140 chars max; GSA official sez fed Tweets advisable

March 15, 2010 |  6:46 am

Gsa tweetSome politicians have shown concern and a disregard for online broadcast tools like Twitter.

The concern comes from examples of mismanagement by some, and the disregard comes from the common misconception that the only thing Twitter is good for is telling people what you had for breakfast.

In a panel this weekend at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, an annual congregation of Internet entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, an official for the General Services Administration addressed the question.

"Yes, the government should tweet," said Bev Godwin, the GSA's director of new media and citizen engagement. Granted, if it didn't, she'd probably be out of a job.

Godwin pointed to the benefits of Twitter for rallying support and donations for disasters -- for example, the recent Haiti earthquake.

The GSA also highlights the benefit of having official and trusted channels. The administration created a link shortener -- akin to TinyURL or Bit.ly -- called GoUSA.gov that can only be utilized by the government. Godwin says 800 officials are currently using the service.

However, neither the @WhiteHouse nor @PressSec Robert Gibbs is using GoUSA.gov.

-- Mark Milian, reporting from Austin

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Photo: Bev Godwin, right. Credit: Mark Milian / Los Angeles Times

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