It’s unusual to have a social media star right in the middle of a government agency. But that’s exactly what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had in the late Curtis “Bob” Burns.
Burns, known as “Blogger Bob,” passed away unexpectedly last October at age 48. He has been identified as no less than a pioneer in the use of social media. From his beginnings as a TSA screener, he embraced the opportunity to engage his readers in the organization’s mission. As you can imagine, that was a huge task for a government entity that rarely gets any feedback except complaints and poor ratings.
In 2008, Burns began blogging for the TSA and then added Instagram in 2013. Perceiving the power of photos, he began publishing a daily Instagram posting showing some of the more unusual items that would-be passengers tried to pass through TSA security lines. Items like giant lobsters, a perfume bottle shaped like a grenade and a deli sandwich slicer demonstrated not only the difficulty of the screening job but also subtly helped coach the public to do their homework before packing. Because of his unique style of honesty, humor and education, the TSA’s Instagram account has grown to almost one million followers.
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