I've been reading a few Department of Education twitter feeds for the last few weeks, in part because I'm curious about the questions Bud Hunt has been asking, and in part because I'm curious to see how the Department of Ed will use some of the tools they talk about in their National Ed Tech plan.
The three accounts I've been reading are:
@EdPressSec: Official twitter account for Department of Education Press Secretaries Justin Hamilton & Sandra Abrevaya; and
@Ed_Outreach: Official feed of External Affairs & Outreach/US Department of Education. Connecting ED to education stakeholders; and
@usedgov: News and information from the U.S Department of Education
The streams consist largely of announcements about what Secretary Duncan is doing, and when he is covered (favorably) in the media. What's striking, though, are the number of retweets between the various accounts; the @EdPressSec account and the @Ed_Outreach account re-post each other -- and the @usedgov account -- on a regular basis. While I get it (they are, after all, working as publicists for the Department of Education), if they were talking about a dating site, or a Canadian pharmacy, or a get-rich-while-working-at-home plan, this behavior would likely result in their accounts being blocked as spammers.
Given the rhetoric we are hearing about the need to talk with stakeholders, and the need to use technology more effectively to change how people learn, it would be nice to see it modeled from the people who provide access to decision makers. If you want the conversation, then engage, and talk with us. But please, don't engage in spamming and call it outreach.