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    How the Government Is Live-Tweeting Its Shutdown

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    Image: Wikimedia

    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.

    NASA, for instance, tweeted about the fact that 97% of its staff is getting sent home today.

    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:

    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.

    Same with the Center for Disease Control. And the Department of Agriculture.

    Arne Duncan, the US Labor Secretary, tweeted a topical zinger:

    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.