Keeping Tabs on Uncle Sam
If you are interested in money – as in your own money – and you believe in the power of the ballot box, now more than ever you need to keep up with what the government is doing and saying. It used to be that we would get our information on government activity from print media. That won’t work anymore. It’s too slow and the lights are slowly being turned off in the newspaper business anyway.
I think part of the strategy of some in Washington is to overwhelm voters with initiatives, programs, and massive expenditures. The pure volume of activity, they hope, will cause us to either become numb to what is being done to us or to just throw up our hands in frustration.
Don’t let them do it to you.
Fortunately, the Obama team came to Washington with a heightened appreciation of the power of social media. The internet savvy-types are now putting their knowledge to good use. Equally fortuitous is that the government’s expanded use of social media actually can work against the idea that voters should be treated like mushrooms (as in kept in the dark and fed you-know-what).
So where do we go to check up on what our fearless leaders are doing?
Business Week was kind enough to compile a list of currently active social media initiatives by the federal government. These include ths usual suspects such as YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook plus a couple of lesser-known information sharing sites, i.e., Blist and AddThis.
For other skeptics, I highly recommend that you check in with some government sites that are more prone to tell it like it is in matters of taxes and our economy. These include the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. These folks are straight shooters on a relative scale.
I can almost guarantee that if you spend some time reading at these government sites, you will know more than 90% of our elected representatives in Washington – those guys and gals who are voting to spend our money. If you are then inclined toward expressing your feelings to your Senators and Representative, having this knowledge in advance gives you some credibility. Who knows – someone might actually listen to you.
Stay after it folks. There is plenty of damage left to be done.
Photo credit: Jeff Sandquist