The federal government "shut down" today, but Twitter is still up and running. Therefore, Silicon Valley technology companies are the future, and governing is the past. Isn't it interesting, after all, that one way the dinosaur government is attempting to stay relevant is by using Twitter to tell everyone how it is no longer working? Here, then, is the story of the how the government is shutting down today, on Twitter.
Most agency branches' final tweets are of the news.
The federal government is currently shut down.— US Labor Department (@USDOL) October 1, 2013
The federal government is currently shut down.— U.S. EPA (@EPA) October 1, 2013
NASA, for instance, tweeted about the fact that 97% of its staff is getting sent home today.
Due to the gov't shutdown, all public NASA activities/events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.— NASA (@NASA) October 1, 2013
The Department of Treasury promoted this tweet today, which I think I once saw in the window at my bank:
The Department of Defense tweeted Obama's message that the troops are pretty much the only government employees that can depend on getting paid.
The Library of Congress tweeted its closure:
As of Oct. 1, Library of Congress closed until further notice. Events canceled, most web sites inaccessible http://t.co/pW55mRaAG2— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) October 1, 2013
So did the Smithsonian, which runs 18 national museums and the National Zoo:
The National Science Foundation and the Fish and Wildlife Dept. are giving up Twitter altogether.
Due to the government shutdown, we will not be tweeting or responding to any replies. We will return as soon as possible.— National Science Fdn (@NSF) October 1, 2013
Due to a lapse of government funding, this account will not be active until further notice.— US Fish and Wildlife (@USFWSHQ) October 1, 2013
Same with the Center for Disease Control. And the Department of Agriculture.
We're sorry, but we will not be tweeting or responding to @ replies during the government shutdown. We'll be back as soon as possible!— CDC Emergency (@CDCemergency) October 1, 2013
Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this channel will not be updated until the federal government reopens.— Dept. of Agriculture (@USDA) October 1, 2013
Arne Duncan, the US Labor Secretary, tweeted a topical zinger:
I invite lawmakers holding up the budget to visit preschools with me & see teamwork, listening, fair play & compassion in action.— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) October 1, 2013
Meanwhile the White House's tweets are simultaneously getting ornery and self-promotional:
So the government has furloughed its social media officers—there's just not a budget for official tweets anymore—but not before releasing a few stern and surly 140-character laments into the confounded blogosphere. The shutdown is in every way ridiculous, of course, and more: it's a dystopian portent for an ungovernable future, and these lonely tweets are the tiny time-stamped reminders of how and when things began to stop working.