Twitter Blackout During Government Shutdown: PR #Fail

CEO Gabriel Shaoolian Is Featured on Forbes

A great PR friend of mine, Lynn Munroe, brought an interesting issue to my attention this week: Four days into the government shutdown, one of the most impactful outcomes (and not in a good way) is the PR and business implication of the Feds' Twitter blackout.

Joanna Stern noted the impact on ABC News as well. No social media communications? The U.S. Capital. FAA Safety Alerts. NASA Voyager. LBJ Library. Even the National Zoo. All dark.


What are the business and communications issues of this phenomena, new to the world as social media has come into being long since the government's last shutdown 18 years ago? For perspective, I interviewed digital trends expert Gabe Shaoolian, the CEO and Founder of Blue Fountain Media in New York. His agency provides website and online services to a roster of clients ranging from startups to Fortune 1000 companies that include Proctor & Gamble, Harper Collins, the NFL, AOL and ironically, given the events of this week, even the UN.


Here's what Shaoolian had to say:


While the focus for most of us this week has been on which government web sites are still operating and which are shut down, Shaoolian noted, the phenomena actually presents a chance to take stock on how effectively our government is handling its internet and social media presence, and by extension, what businesses in the private sector can be learning from this experience as well.

The government is doing itself a disservice by cutting off social media, Shaoolian maintains. I agree.

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