The day I discovered the U.S. Department of the Interior (@Interior)’s twitter feed, my sense of patriotism just about doubled.
Not only is it a great example of how a federal agency can use social media to inform people about our nation’s resources and programs, but also, it’s incredibly fun and beautiful to scroll through. And I’m not the only person to love it – Time magazine named it one of the 140 Best Twitter Feeds in 2014, and it’s gained a steady following of about 264,000. Here are some of my reasons why it’s one of my favorite social media outlets these days.
On rainy or glum days when you feel cooped up indoors at home or in your office, it can be nice to go through pictures that remind you of the spectacular beauty of our natural world. Interior regularly posts jaw-dropping landscapes that will make you become a conservationist - if you already weren’t one. We’re lucky to live in a country that has such a diverse range of natural habitats. It’s nice to be reminded of that each time you log on twitter.
— US Dept of Interior (@Interior) January 16, 2015
Tweets feature pictures from national parks that are examples of fantastic photography - stunningly clear, colorful, and beautiful. The feed also regularly shares animal photos and funny memes that are a true mood-booster. With so much of our time spent in cities and human-controlled spaces, it’s easy to forget our furry friends. And these snapshots will make you melt from time to time.
By fostering awareness of animals in such a fun way, DOI is encouraging people to protect their habitats. This awareness-raising technique is a great way to spread appreciation of protected areas and ensure that they’ll continue to be preserved and supported by the American people.
In addition to being fun, Interior’s twitter is also highly educational. It provides information on natural resources and relevant updates on environmental issues, which is a great way to learn about targeted issues happening now in a very concise way that’s easy to understand and doesn’t take up very much time. The feed provides snippets of relevant issues on America’s great outdoors in a way that doesn’t feel too cumbersome.
— US Dept of Interior (@Interior) January 8, 2015
Interior was the only federal agency on Time’s list of best twitter feeds. How can other agencies learn from this example and replicate its success?
It’s important to provide the information that you’re trying to disseminate to generate knowledge and support from the masses, but it seems that Interior has done a great job of balancing information with entertainment. On top of that, they do so in a way that’s incredibly visually pleasing.
This social media initiative is a ultimately success, however, because it serves the larger mission of Interior, which is to “protect America’s natural resources and heritage, honor our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future.” Educating people about our natural habitat is a critical part of protecting and honoring natural resources. And it’s inspired this blog-writer to strap on her hiking boots and go explore this nation’s great local parks this weekend.