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Campus Notebook: GPO Starts Facebook Account

Inspired by other federal agencies, the Government Printing Office launched a Facebook page Thursday.

“Way to go, GPO!” wrote Sarah Scruggs, a GPO librarian, on the group’s wall.

As of press time, more than 245 Facebook users “like” the agency.

The GPO created the social media account to “engage with the public on the workings of this critically important agency of our Government,” a press release said Monday.

GPO employees were inspired to create the page “after seeing the success other federal agencies had with Facebook,” said Gary Somerset, GPO media and public relations manager.

Indeed, some agencies have used Facebook to catch the public’s eye. The Library of Congress, for example, opened its Facebook account a few years ago and has more than 36,000 “likes,” and public relations employees frequently post updates on upcoming events.

Departments of the executive branch get even more traffic. The Department of Defense’s Facebook posts from last weekend received more than 1,200 “likes” and more than 150 written comments. The State Department’s weekend Facebook posts received hundreds of “likes.” More than 73,000 people “like” the DOD’s page, and more than 63,000 “like” the State Department’s page.

But given its narrow audience and the fact that most Americans have never heard of the agency, the GPO’s page is unlikely to get that level of attention. Although Somerset said the Facebook page targets lawmakers, Congressional staffers, the library community and the public, the content, for now at least, probably won’t attract many eyes. For instance, the most prominent feature on the page is a 22-minute video of Public Printer William Boarman’s swearing-in ceremony.

A release said the page will include job openings at the GPO, new hires and news releases.

It sounds as though the page will be more like the Facebook pages of the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, which have only a few hundred “likes” and no posts.

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