Tweeters Twitter should consider for its new government gig

TwitterThe Beltway is buzzing about Twitter’s new Government Liaison gig, and the excitement is shaking DC like a California earthquake. The aftershock has produced a smart post by Andrew Wilson (Top 10 Requests for the New Government Liaison at Twitter) that offers great ideas for Twitter as they comb through a stack of resumes bigger than a GPO print job.

Here’s the gist of the job description:

Twitter is looking for an experienced, entreprenurial person to make Twitter better for policymakers, political organizations and government officials and agencies. You’ll be our first D.C. -based employee and the closest point of contact with a variety of important people and organizations looking to get the most out of Twitter on both strategic and highly tactical levels. You’ll help Twitter understand what we can do to better serve candidates and policymakers across party and geographical lines. You’ll support policymakers use of Twitter to help them communicate and interact with their constituents and the world. You’ll work with nearly every group at the company and at every level to pursue your vision for how Twitter ought to be. You’ll help set the culture and approach of a fledgling public policy department and be an important part of our very small company.

There are a number of well-qualified people for this position, and by no means am I endorsing or know whether the following are interested, but as personal campaigns pop up and resumes fly, here’s a few folks Twitter might want to consider:

Adriel HamptonAdriel Hampton (@adrielhampton) is an avid Twitter contributor and influential Gov 2.0 tweeter, both in the context of his role as host of Gov 2.0 Radio, but also as a public servant for the City of San Francisco. He knows how to use Twitter both in a hands-on government capacity at the local level as well as in a political campaign (see his recent GovFresh post Can Twitter reimagine democracy?). While he currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m sure he’d be more than willing to do so for Twitter.


Steve Lunceford (@dslunceford) is the founder of GovTwit, the world’s largest government Twitter directory. He’s enthusiastically built GovTwit over the past few years into a central tool for cataloging government Twitter accounts, both at the state and local level. Lunceford is well-regarded and well-connected within DC. See also his recent critical but constructive post, A verified disappointment: how Twitter handles government accounts.


Wayne Moses BurkeWayne Moses Burke (@wmburke) is the founder of Open Forum Foundation and GovLuv, the Twitter app that helps citizens connect with government. Burke is one of the few, perhaps only, people in DC who has helped build a real (and valuable) government Twitter application. He’s well-regarded within DC and passionate about changing the way government connects with citizens.


Peter SlutskyPeter Slutsky (@pslutsky) is currently Ning‘s Strategic Relationships Manager and based in DC. Working in DC for a Silicon Valley-based tech company, Slutsky will most likely be able to manage the cultural divide and leverage his already established connections with key people within government. With Ning going through growing pains, this might be a nice transition for him.


Thoughts on who else might be the right person for the job?

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh. He is also co-founder and CEO of ProudCity. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at luke@govfresh.com.

24 Responses

  1. Thanks, Luke — I’m honored. And also excited to see who else others recommend.

    It has certainly provided some interesting fodder for discussion here in early June.

  2. I think this list is missing a major element. The job description asks for someone with Gov experience.

    You should add people like @lovisatalk (don’t know if she would leave her post) – people with real government experience and real government contacts on both the policy and politics sides.

    I would also suggest this list does not encompass anywhere close to the sheer number of applicants. Perhaps instead of a popularity contest, maybe it should be a list of who is BEST qualified?

  3. Julie Germany

    Totally agree with Alan (and with you Luke) that @lovisatalk is an outstanding choice. I like her as a candidate because she knows the federal sector in and out, was involved in writing social media policies for the government, and has tremendously strong, genuine relationships with people in government.

    You’re entire list is AMAZING, by the way. Really, really great people.

  4. Something missing? Yeah, how about gender balance? The “guys” throwing their hats in the ring? While no slam on the terrific guys on your list, once again we are stuck on the bro love. #EPICFAIL

    It doesn’t take much effort to see that there are HIGHLY capable people who are not men. Women to consider include @lovisa and @poplifegirl @kateatstate @tracyrusso. AND they all have boots on the ground dot-gov experience PLUS prodigious connects.

    Sorry, but you got my feminist ire going. Do better Luke!

  5. Ralph

    Ah yes, only the glitterati Twitterers can be considered, not others who are doing great things? There are more people out there beyond the usual suspects. It’s hard breaking into the “top tier” high school like clicks that have developed in social media circles. Seeing some of the same names over and over is pretty tiring and boring after awhile.

  6. Thanks for the tip of the hat, Luke. While I think I already have a pretty cool gig helping drive social media and open government efforts for the world’s largest professional services firm, I have to say that I’m very intrigued in the direction Twitter will go with this process. Will they follow the model Facebook did with their first D.C. hire, 25-year-old Adam Conner (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/29/AR2009122901436.html)? Will they go for someone with more agency experience vs political/Hill?

    Regardless, I think it’s a great step for my favorite social platform; I just hope that whomever lands the role will take some time to reach out to myself and others who share the same passion for the role Twitter can play in improving gov to citizen and gov to gov communications.

  7. Thanks,

    Good post and great people nominated. I know most of them personally and they would be great.

    My comment is around SMS and Twitter and Govt.

    Many smart people are focused on the Smart Phone. That is cool, but the fact is most people in the world and in the US use “dumb” phones.

    And what do these dumb phones have? 100% have SMS.

    The brilliance of Twitter is that it works on SMS. Note that the fastest growing group on Twitter is African American.

    Any work Twitter does with Government and Elected officials should build on the the fact that Twitter runs on SMS and can be adopted by the largest majorities of citizens.

    No need to wait for Broadband !

    Shaun Dakin – @ShaunDakin
    Candidate for the Twitter Govt Job
    Website > http://hireshaundakin.posterous.com/
    Twitter Account > @TweetGovt
    Hashtag > #HireSD
    Petition > Act.ly > http://act.ly/22n

  8. Lovisa would be great, as would Shaun (SMS, ftw!). And Steve should get it just for the incredible labor of love that is GovTwit.
    And additional point I think is important: this shouldn’t be a feds first thing. Millions of state and local govies – and non-U.S. folks – have a lot at stake here.

  9. Yep, I know the first three and they’d all be great. And Gwynne and other named several good women.

    The biggest problem I see is that if someone’s good enough to get hired out of gov’t, I’d probably rather they stayed in gov’t!

  10. So Gwynne…. *My* feminist ire gets worked up over women still being paid only .77 cents to the dollar than men, and the fact that only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

    Not having a female represented on an exhaustive and extensive list of…4? Not so much.

  11. My recommended candidate is Gwynne Kostin. I had DM’d Luke about this early yesterday evening (my apologies for the delay; it’s been a busy morning) so this recommendation is not in response to any of the more recent posts regarding women for this position.

    Gwynne would be a very strong candidate. Her qualifications include her tenure as the Director, New Media at U.S. Department of Homeland Security and now Co-Director, Center for New Media and Citizen Engagement at General Services Administration. From my perspective, she’s been “in the trenches” with two high profile agencies and has done/is doing a superb job. Her communication skills are excellent.

    There are going to be challenges associated with this Twitter position and Gwynne’s record of achievement has probably prepared her well to deal with these challenges.

    For the record, I’ve had no conversations with Gwynne about this and while she is probably very happy with what she’s doing right now (judging from her participation in various forums, conferences, etc.) and may not want to be considered for this position, I think Twitter and the government would benefit tremendously from having Gwynne in this position.

  12. I echo your nominations for Adriel, Wayne and Steve (I don’t know Peter). They all bring a great combination of intellectual depth about the Gov 2.0 key issues as well as “schmoozability”

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