How a Star Wars Crab Became a Federal Agency’s Twitter Avatar

Federal agencies doing weird things on Twitter isn’t exactly new, even if the tweets often end up deleted. Still, it isn’t every day that one changes its avatar to a crab. But that’s exactly what the U.S. Digital Service has done, a fact that was recently brought to my attention thanks to a tweet from Leigh Giangreco.

As a tech nerd (and passable Star Wars fan), I had to get some answer to Twitter’s burning questions: Why was the new logo a crab? Why was it a crab holding lightsabers? These are the things tech journalists need to know on a relatively slow news week. Fortunately, the USDS was happy to answer my press inquiry. I spoke on the phone with Ellen Butters, a designer at USDS, and Matt Cutts, acting administrator. (Disclosure: Vivian Graubard, a co-founder of the USDS, now works at New America, where I’m an employee; New America is a partner with Slate and Arizona State University in Future Tense.)


Katie Easton