"These new accounts also raise the fascinating question of whether "alternative" or "rogue" or "resistance" social media accounts will become a new norm even in Western nations that have not typically had a history of "governments in exile." One could imagine that every administration would have its "rogue" employees who disagree with particular policies heading out to Twitter to fire up their own resistance accounts. Taking this a step further, the party not in power could set up its own alternative Twitter accounts for each federal agency and issue their own statements interpreting the actions of each agency through their particular partisan lens."
Keith's note: I could not be happier to see this happen. NASAWatch started out as RIFWatch - an effort to inform people about an impending downsizing (RIF) at NASA. Guess what - that may be in NASA's future once again. I used to warn NASA that someday there would be dozens of websites like NASAWatch. I am so happy to have totally underestimated that number.
Keith's update: At first these Twitter accounts focused mostly on science issues. Then their originators (government employees, based on tweets these accounts made) handed the accounts over to non-government employees. Shortly thereafter, as visibility exploded, a lot of the commentary and follower's comments took a turn into overtly partisan, anti-Trump territory. Now its hard to extract the science policy issues from the rest of the noise. Such is social media.
Rogue Webmasters, Government Executive, 1996
"What does RIF really stand for? According to Keith Cowing's NASA RIF Watch Web site, the answer is "Resistance Is Futile." On the site, Cowing cut and pasted NASA Administrator Dan Goldin's face onto the body of a "Borg," the race of villains from television's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" who attempt to destroy Earth and enslave its people. Cowing, a former NASA employee who quit in 1993 because he didn't like the way the agency was being managed, launched the RIF Watch site in April to provide information for NASA employees whose jobs are at risk as the agency's budget shrinks and it is asked to carry out its mission with fewer employees. He's not alone in his effort to supplement--and circumvent--official agency information sources. Rogue webmasters have set up sites for IRS employees and Postal workers. And an online magazine has devoted a section to let federal employees of any agency sound off about what ticks them off."
Changes in Thinking At NASA, PBS NewsHour 1996
"TOM BEARDEN: Goldin and his associate administrators want their people to make quick decisions and fix mistakes later, instead of doing what he says NASA used to do, study a problem to death for fear of failing. Keith Cowing follows all of this in cyberspace. He's a former NASA engineer who set up an Internet site that functions as a kind of super water cooler for all of NASA's far-flung employees. He calls it "RIF Watch." It features rumors, editorial comment, jokes, cartoons. It also frequently publishes high-level internal memos that NASA employees send to Cowing. He says there are a lot of unhappy people out there in NASA Land."