When the Air Force wanted to refute reports that GPS technology is failing, the service turned to Twitter to get the word out. Government Q&As on Twitter have been going on for a few months; it looks like they've gone beyond the gimmicky roots and are emerging as useful communications tools.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the Air Force's system of GPS satellites is on the verge of failure, and the Air Force isn't moving fast enough to fix the problem. GPS needs a certain, minimum number of satellites in the sky to triangulate users' positions, and the Air Force isn't replacing the satellite fast enough.
If true, this would be a crisis of major proportions to me. I've become increasingly reliant on GPS, and would be incapable of navigating from my front door to the foot of my driveway without my trusty Garmin nüvi.
The Air Force disagrees with the GAO's dire assessment. In the past, in a disagreement of this type, the Air Force would have gone to journalists to get its side of the story out, holding a press conference, issuing a press release, or simply making a few phone calls.
This time, the Air Force decided to take its story directly to the people, via Twitter.