The US Consumer Product Safety Commission does crucial work, issuing recalls for dangerous products and publishing safety tips for consumers. But it also fulfills another important function: Day in, day out, the CPSC is killing it on Twitter.
Not all heroes wear capes, but it is statistically likely that most heroes have at some point imagined a glowing child floating inside a force field — which the CPSC did, when thinking about the dangers posed by electrical cords.
The CPSC joined Twitter in January 2009 and has more 36,000 followers. That number should be at least 10 times higher, given the quality of its meme work, but the regulator, like all great tweeters, pushes on regardless.
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Scott Wolfson, the director of communications for the CPSC, told BuzzFeed News that Twitter has helped the agency "reach millions of people who may not get our emails or may not visit our website frequently to access safety information."
"We are not one of the more well-known federal agencies," said Wolfson, citing NASA, which is more prominent.
"We try to do the best we can with the life saving information we put out there."
Wolfson said the key is to be visual. Take this image of a glowing baby as a "tiny astronaut," used to illustrate how to strap infants into chairs.
"We're trying to connect with consumers by being relevant, by being data driven, and understanding that if you're not visual in this culture on social media, it's unlikely you're going to generate attention," he said.
Wolfson said the communications team brainstorms the tweets, but one person takes the lead on social media.
"We just try to be creative and look for new opportunities," he said.
On Valentine's Day, things got sexy. The commission chose a day devoted to hot and fiery love to get its message out about smoke detectors.
"We're trying to break through with an important safety message," said Wolfson. "We know that 50% of the fire deaths that happen in this country are in homes that don't have any working smoke alarms."
But consumer safety isn't all fire and roses. "Commitment. Togetherness. A clean dryer vent," read one tweet, which the commission nailed.
"Some say love is really about keeping your space heater 3ft away from all flammable objects," reads another perfect tweet.
Every great Twitter user has their traditions, and the CPSC is no different. Once a year, it launches rockets at mannequins on the National Mall in Washington, DC, all in the name of fireworks safety.
Wolfson said, "We believe people who follow our Twitter account are safer in their home because of it we literally provide life-saving information."