The list of government waste, scandal, and secrecy seems to be mounting, with news this week of a recent governmental order requiring Verizon to provide the National Security Agency with classified information on calls made through the service. What’s more, trust in the media is at an all time low, with 60 percent of independent voters reporting to have little or no trust in the mass media.
Recognizing the need for honest, investigative reporting, some organizations are turning to technology to spread the truth. Last week, we focused on California agencies tweeting their way to transparency. This week, here is a list of the top 5 national organizations advancing transparency on Twitter.
1. Sunlight Foundation @SunFoundation
With over 25,000 followers, the Sunlight Foundation embodies the spirit of transparency on Twitter. Posting links to their website, sharing facts about spending, and providing resources that promote open government, Sunlight Foundation digs deep and shares their findings in 140 characters or less. Most recently, they have not only been active in sharing information on the publicized governmental scandals, but also in shedding light on issues not being reported on in the mainstream media, like this:
While Jordan receives $670M in US aid, it's censoring 300 media websites – will this press crackdown be ignored? http://t.co/vumw0XZ5ED
— Sunlight Foundation (@SunFoundation) June 5, 2013
The group even use its Twitter to push its Google Plus community, which in the social media world, deserves a plus one.
2. Center for Effective Government @ForEffectiveGov
What sets @ForEffectiveGov apart from most organizations on Twitter is the frequency at which it posts. Tweeting about once every hour, the organization shares articles from their website and important information from across the Internet. They retweet their followers and other organizations, and recently live-tweeted the Jobs Emergency conference.
Some other topics covered recently on the account: fracking, military whistleblowers, chemical safety bill, EU trade agreement, and the UN on the need for transparency in government.
3. Center for Responsive Politics @OpenSecretsDC
The account for the Center for Responsive Politics is one of the loudest voices on Twitter when it comes to dark money. Pushing its campaign spending research on the social network, @OpenSecretsDC has been effective in sharing tools and information about dark money and campaign spending long after the 2012 elections.
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) June 5, 2013
Furthermore, the organization shares updates about its staff, retweets photos of events, and live-tweets conferences relating to dark money.
4. MapLight @MapLight
MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that “provides journalists and citizens with transparency tools that connects data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, and companies,” effectively uses the platform to share updates from other organizations covering transparency on Twitter.
With a focus on California and Wisconsin, MapLight recently tweeted to California lawmakers about the DISCLOSE Act thanking them for their vote towards increased transparency in campaign spending.
— MapLight (@MapLight) May 28, 2013
While the organization has a relatively small following, it has gained attention from other accounts spreading transparency on Twitter, recently being retweeted by @OpenSecretsDC.
5. GovTrack.us @govtrack
Much like @ForEffectiveGov, the Twitter account for GovTrack.us provides a constant flow of information on the activities of Congress, tweeting about upcoming bills and delving into the text of each bill. @Govtrack also makes it a point to mention relevant lawmakers in its tweets, sharing tweets from journalists, agencies, lawmakers, and citizens who are talking about congressional activities.
Its commitment to engaging with its followers and thanking users who use and share GovTrack.us is reflected in the plethora of tweets responding to users.