Watching the Government Go Tweet Tweet Tweet

With so many people now using Twitter it should come as no surprise that there are now many government agencies, institutions, individuals, and related groups also getting their tweet on. An attempt to organize this group is now available in the form of GovTwit, available at And before you ask, the site covers government Twitter accounts from all over the world, not just the US.

The site has something over 2200 accounts on it, though it also offers streams of tweets as well as sets of photos (they look like they all come from TwitPic) and video (the ones I saw were from YouTube.)

In fact the front of the page is devoted to showing the lastest tweets from folks in the directory. If you want to get an actual list of Twitterers, click the List tab. This defaults to listing alphabetically by Twitter name, but you can also choose to sort it by followers as well. (Unsurprisingly, the most followed account in the directory is BarackObama with 1900959 followers.)

You can search the list — there’s a huge list of tags over on the right nav. Unfortunately they cover a wide spectrum. There are tags for individual states, and tags for agency names, and tags for countries. (There’s even a tag for unofficial.) Click on those and you’ll get corresponding accounts.

Personally I found it somewhat easier to do a keyword search. When you do a keyword search, GovTwit searches both its twitterstream and its list of users. In addition to searchin gname and Twitter name, it also searches the bio of the user — handy! Unfortunately it doesn’t treat searches as a full word. In other words, if you search for CA, intending to search for California, you will get matches like America, campaign, advocate, etc. Avoid searching for abbreviations. Search results include full name, Twitter name, biography, and number of followers.

Once you’ve found an interesting organization/agency/whatever, click on its title. Listed Twitter folks have their own pages on TwitGov (which is good because as I’m writing this Twitter is going up and down, up and down.) Account pages include details like the number of followers, ranking on TwitGov, number of tweets per day, and how many tweets left total. There’s also a space for multimedia like photos and videos if there are any. You’re supposed to be able to follow an Twitter account from this page but I couldn’t get that to work; I’m blaming Twitter’s current difficulties.

I almost wish the site has a searchable directory instead of using tags; it would be easier to divide browsing among state-, federal-, and non-US organizations. But if you pick your keywords carefully, you’ll find plenty to see here. Worth a look.

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