State Dept ‘Ugly’ Humor Unfunny

When you work for an organization with a playful brand, it’s easy to communicate that personality via social media and other communication vehicles. But what if your organization tends toward a naturally serious tone? The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs tried to inject a lighthearted voice to a tweet warning travelers about scams abroad, but ended up falling flat.

The tweet made fun of the fact that if you’re not considered attractive in the U.S., then beware if some beautiful person tries to talk you up at a bar. While the core message is good, the tease not only makes fun of the reader but makes light of a serious subject.

This wasn’t a huge faux pas, but more of a lesson learned for the State Department. As a society we’ve moved to more informal ways of communicating and government agencies are trying to match that to make sure information reaches all types of people. The @TravelGov account did also add a bunch of new followers from the media coverage of the tweet.

It’s interesting to see a small department attemptong a funnier approach and I think government agencies should still test their voice. Social media at the federal level is relatively new and agencies are experimenting with what works.

Was this tweet a 10? No, but do expect to see more of this youthful and informal social media from all types of government agencies.

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