When most people think of "social networking," they may not think of the IRS. At least I don't. I prefer to interact with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service exactly once per year - when they send me my refund check.
For nearly a year, however, the IRS has been updating a Twitter account: @IRSnews and To date, the account has almost 3,500 followers (mostly tax professionals), which is more than I have, but a few less than @JustinBieber (whatever that is), which has over 6.2M followers (mostly hairdressers, I think).
Anyway, the IRS is so excited about this social media success, that it has started four more Twitter feeds: @IRSTaxPros (even more tax professionals), @IRSenEspanol (for Spanish speakers), @RecruitmentIRS (operated by Eric Erickson, who also runs IRSCareers, but RecruitmentIRS is the site officially linked from IRS.gov), and @YourVoiceatIRS (Taxpayer Advocacy).
According to a press release:
This past week, the IRS announced the availability of expanded Twitter feeds as a way to share timely information with both taxpayers and industry professionals.
This includes expanding the number of IRS employees using the feeds. For local information and tax tips, citizens can follow state media specialist David Tucker, according to Washington news provider The News Tribune. For more nationally centered news, the IRS' Twitter account provides news and information.
Naturally, some people are skeptical, and point out that this "following" thing is a two-way street (i.e., You can follow the IRS, but remember, they can also follow you). The IRS assures us our privacy and security, however, "are paramount."
For more information on the social media efforts of the IRS, see the IRS New Media page, and check out the links on the right.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.