The FBI has one. The NSA has one. Even the White House has one (well, two). The time has finally come for the CIA to have one.
Twitter has become a platform for enormous and somewhat mysterious government institutions to connect with the people they’re charged with looking over. Of course the short 140 character messages coming out of these organizations are truly the calculated words of an individual or small collection of individuals tasked with promoting positive public opinion, such as this first tweet posted yesterday:
“We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet” – @CIA
Pretty funny right? The genius part about organizations such as the CIA or NSA having social media accounts like Twitter, is that they are light-hearted digital facades for groups which have an unfortunate tendency to regularly breach our trust in very serious ways. Let’s be honest in saying that the daily operations of the CIA are fairly unknown to those who lack the authorization. Speculation is rampant and often detrimental to their image, and like any government institution, the CIA is not impervious to public opinion.
It is for this reason that the first tweet you see above is such well executed strategy. In one short message it tells the audience that yes, the speculated and ominous CIA that you have come to know is now here on Twitter, but that that CIA actually has a lighter side to it that you may not have known before.
So now rather than relying on a collection of faces associated with the CIA (or lack thereof), it can promote an image of itself to the public that is more empathetic. It’s no coincidence that this was posted on a Friday (when people are looking forward to the weekend) in the morning (giving it enough time to spread throughout social media before professionals head home for the weekend).
When we think about the operations of the Central Intelligence Agency we shouldn’t let a good PR campaign get in the way of their accountability to the public.
With that said, will I follow @CIA on Twitter? They’ve been covertly following me and everyone else for the better part of a century, about time we had the opportunity to do the same to them…even if they’re only showing us what they want us to see.
You can follow me on Twitter at @jRosenbaumLaw