TSA's Instagram Feed Is Straight-Up Weird, And Yet Mesmerizing
Ah, the TSA. The team behind those long, long queues at the airport, and also the reason you have to squeeze your moisturizer into an absurdly tiny travel bottle. And also, it appears, the group behind the TSA's Instagram feed, which is so weird it's almost mesmerizing (and the account's 59,744 followers can back me on that one). And you thought the 2popesaints Instagram account was weird.
Although the TSA's account was started last year in order to share the items that were being confiscated by airport security (hint: an alarmingly high number of grenades), the team has now moved onto puppy pictures, casual office pics and photos of TSA members meeting the DHS Secretary — all expertly and amusingly hashtagged. Perhaps unsurprising, considering the organization is no newbie when it comes to social media — back in 2008, they started a blog, and (somewhat more surprisingly), they're still going strong. In fact, their latest blog post (the "TSA Week in Review," in case you were wondering) went up just less than a week ago.
According to USA Today, the TSA's blogger Bob Burns (stop to think about what a job that must be) has said that the point of putting up the confiscated objects online is "to share the things that our officers are finding." But, he adds, there's a bigger reason as well: "Each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home."
Sort of like an online Wall of Shame.
Yah dudes. Leave the frightening Swiss-army-style iPhone case and Batarangs back in the drawer of horrors, please.
Other surprising groups to go for the filtered image include the U.S. army (which sadly only has five posts) and the New York City Department of Transportation, which only has 1,822 followers, in spite of its quite lovely pictures of hipsters on bikes and New York in the snow.
The TSA's online presence, by contrast, is impressive, even as it works to create "a more visible law enforcement presence" in response to last November's fatal LAX shooting. And the account provides a rare peek behind the scenes of airport security and an addictively bizarre insight into the TSA's world: weapons, dogs and office space.