The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has the most unexpectedly hilarious Twitter
This is Ode To..., a weekly column where we share the stuff we're really into in hopes that you'll be really into it, too.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is here to warn us about unsafe products and best practices when using certain products. And, it seems, to also keep us entertained with some of the weirdest meme-filled tweets of any government agency.
Most recently the account has received attention in the past for its unusual approach to education and recently got the attention of unfamiliar users with a single-word tweet.
Are horses being recalled? Was the account hacked? What is happening?
Scrolling through previous tweets revealed the past amazingly ridiculous posts that combined elements that were surreal and absurd with, well, legit safety tips.
These are all great points! It's summer and sunny so yes, beware of hot playground equipment! And ATVs can be dangerous, especially without a helmet. And these examples don't include some glorious 4th of July safety-related tweets.
As it turns out, that's the whole point, according to Joseph Galbo, the man behind the USCPSC's social media strategy: to do something different than most other government agencies who take a more straight-forward approach to education.
"We know people like to have fun, we know people like to learn new things. So it really was just a matter of putting those two concepts together," Galbo told me on the phone.
Galbo has a solid background for combining those two concepts into meme magic, having previously worked for the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. "While I was there, I saw how they used fun to teach kids and when I got here, I was like, wow, we can do something similar with safety."
"When you're a little bit different and when you're a little bit entertaining, I think people will reward you with their likes and their retweets," he adds.
It's a collaborative effort, too. The communications office is small, less than 10 people, according to Galbo, and he focuses on social media.
"The other public affairs specialists will have their safety campaigns that they have to promote and they'll come to me and we'll brainstorm on what the graphic should look like, what's a good angle to approach it from," he explains.
"A lot of them do end up being surrealists which is my sense of humor most times. And people really like it."
Indeed, Galbo says the USCPSC Twitter account had somewhere in the neighborhood of 28,000 followers when he joined the team in 2016 but has grown to nearly 46,000 followers. And most of the feedback has been good.
"The positive responses we see vastly outweigh the negative responses," Galbo says. "We'll always get the occasional, 'I can't believe my tax dollars go into this' or something along those lines. But that's a very, very small minority compared to the average user."
And the approach is helping the agency reach a younger audience. "We're reaching younger parents and, in some cases, kids in college and high school," he adds. "That's really exciting, especially for a small agency that discusses such a niche safety piece of the national conversation. It's really, really great to see people getting engaged."
The reaction from other government agencies has also been positive, according to Galbo. "Counterparts at other agencies have reached out to say, 'Hey, it's great,' or 'Hey, how are you getting that approved?'" And he takes inspiration from other, larger agencies "when it's time to get serious and discuss harder topics."
The strategy is also a matter of trying to do more with less. The CPSC has a budget of about $123 million, according to Galbo, and communications gets just a small bit of that."Around $2 million to $3 million, maybe" with a large chunk of that going into printed materials and other efforts "to reach communities where access to technology is a challenge."
"The money flows to the places that need it the most," he says, "and on social media, with this strategy, being a little different, being a little funny sometimes, it's working out."
As for that horses tweet, it's not the first time horses have been used on the agency's account and, yes, it had a payoff.
Galbo was kind enough to confirm one important question, laughing as he explained, "We do not regulate horses. I can confirm that we do not regulate actual living and breathing horses. That is a different government agency."
Stay beautiful, you wonderful, weird Twitter feed.
WATCH: Controllable Computer for Kids Gains Traction on Kickstarter
via Social Media https://ift.tt/2DCFv97
July 31, 2018 at 01:01PM