Politicians, gov’t agencies turn to Twitter amidst #Shutdown

Friday, 4 October 2013

The U.S. federal shutdown this week means that for many government departments and agencies Twitter accounts and websites are temporarily paused while negotiations continue. But others have not let the cessation stop them getting their message out, using the real-time and conversational power of Twitter to directly reach constituents.

Share important information in real time
The Department of the Interior (@Interior) used the new Twitter Alerts feature to announce that all of the National Parks will be closed:

Conversely, the State Department (@TravelGov) countered misinformation about the shutdown by letting the world know it was still open for business:

Rally opinion using hashtags
Politicians brought the political fight to Twitter, using it to advance their positions in the ongoing (and often heated) debate, centralizing the conversation by introducing or playing off of existing hashtags.

@BarackObama used Twitter to rally support against House Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner).

Boehner engaged on Twitter as well:

Engage with constituents
Some politicians used Twitter to solicit and showcase the opinions of their constituents.

Encourage retweets to spread the word
President Obama sent out a call to RT this Tweet:

And Republican Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) fired straight back with this:

Use photos and Vine to spread the message
Meanwhile many politicians used visual aids — both photos and Vine videos — to tell their side of the story.

The #Shutdown: inside the numbers
As the shutdown hit, the conversation centered on its effects across the country, reaching its peak on October 1. We looked at mentions of both the shutdown and Obamacare over the last week (plus related terms).

Topsy geoanalysis of where the tweets originated from shows that much of the conversation around the shutdown was east coast, in contrast to mentions of ‘Obamacare’ and related terms, which originates in the mid-West:

As expected, the @BarackObama account upped its activity, posting more Tweets than normal in the days running up to October 1, when the shutdown came into force:

As of October 4, the President’s tweet was the most retweeted of the crisis so far:

Do you know of any other innovative uses of Twitter? Contact us at [email protected].