When Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Superintendent John Donahue advised the public to follow the park on Twitter at a recent Delaware Township supervisors meeting, Supervisor Tom Ryan blurted out what a few people were probably thinking.
“We’re paying the federal government to tweet?” Ryan asked.
Donahue explained that Twitter use by the National Park System was championed by retired United States Supreme Court
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She was on a Blue Ribbon Panel that produced a 2009 report making recommendations for the on the second century of
the National Park Service, which turns 100 in 2016.
Donahue attended a meeting of the panel.
“She was insistent that the NPS be allowed to use social media,” Donahue recalls. The park service was not previously allowed to use social media because of computer security concerns, he said.
The 2009 report recommended that the park service should” build a more adaptive, innovative, and responsive organization”
and it should use social networking.
At last check, the park had 388 followers but there will be plenty more when word gets out that its twitter feed is pretty cool.
Most local park tweets come with a photograph. It might be a poisonous mushroom to avoid eating, a bear sighting, or a close up of work on a building in the park.
The photos make follows feel more connected to the park.
Does O’Connor have her own twitter feed? Yes.
She spearheaded iCivics, a web-based education project designed to reinvigorate civics teaching and learning.