Federal agencies are using social media as a real-time engagement and response tool and letting politicians make all the gaffes.

True engagement in a social media space involves a dialogue between official organizations and the public, writes David Bray, FCC CIO, who is quite Twitter savvy himself.

The Office of Management and Budget released its “Legal Advisory on the Standards of Conduct and Social Media” to the Federal workforce this April after a flood of inquiries for proper use of social media. Good thing … Feds are making user engagement an art. Here are some of the best Federal social media accounts to check out.

On Instagram
Transportation Security Administration – More exciting than the $675,000 of loose change the TSA kept last year are the pictures of their service dogs at work.

Department of the Interior – In addition to protecting our great outdoors, DOI showcases how beautiful the country is from coast to coast, giving National Geographic a run for its money.

On YouTube
The Department of Defense – While other agencies’ YouTube channels could be mistaken for CSPAN footage, DOD posts how to perform recon in the ocean, celebrity cameos, and aerobic instructionsfrom the Pentagon.

On Flickr
Customs and Border Protection – $6.2 million of marijuana, cocaine hidden in car batteries and headlights, and weapons – lots of weapons – are just some of their noteworthy seizures.

Library of Congress –The Library of Congress’s cache of black-and-white photos aren’t synthetically filtered by Instagram. They’re the real deal, and include rare images of Abraham Lincoln, the Titanic, and fearless fashion from the Roaring 20s.

On Twitter
Central Intelligence Agency – How do you garner nearly 800,000 Twitter followers with one Tweet?Just ask the CIA. (But don’t expect an answer).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration – With 9.7 million followers, NASA has won the covetedShorty Award – honoring the best government use of social media – multiple times.

On Pinterest
U.S. Army – The Army’s account could have simply relied on combat photos, but they went the extra mile (as usual) posting the history of army fashion, old WWII posters, as well as celebrating diversity with accounts devoted to women, and African-Americans who served.

On LinkedIn
Department of State – The Department’s constant updates and detailed job postings prove they’re more attentive than many Fortune 500 companies.

On Tumblr
National Archives and Records Administration – “Today’s Document” – an illuminating series of rare documents and behind-the-scenes footage – began as a feature on, but is now aggregated across other social platforms, including Twitter, and Facebook.

On Facebook
The White House – Boasting over 3,425,000 likes, the White House also leads the pack for Twitter,YouTube, and Google+.

Marine Corps – With constant updates, tear-jerking posts, and “OORAH”-inspiring tales of the few and the proud, the Marines’ page is like a billboard for joining the Corps.

On Blogs
Center for Disease Control – While the authoritative spot for information regarding the latest health scare, the CDC knows how to make news. They recently posted a blog about zombies, generating more than 10 times the blog’s normal traffic and big time media attention for the agency’s tongue-in-cheek humor.

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MeriTalk Staff