Nothing annoys some travelers more than the Transport Security Agency (TSA).
Its intense security checks are why you leave for the airport three hours early after desperately searching for shampoo in bottles smaller than 100 ml.
At the airport you're asked to remove your shoes, pass through X-rays, and subject yourself to metal detectors—all of which makes you wonder, "Is this really necessary?"
The answer? Yes, it is.
If you aren't convinced, check out the agency's newly launched Instagram that boasts more than 41,000
TSA joined the picture sharing platform on June 27, posting photos of confiscated contraband, ranging from loaded guns to inert grenades.
When contacted by Ragan.com, Ross Feinstein, press secretary for the TSA, said the following:
"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses a variety of ways to engage with the traveling public in order to provide timely information that
assists them in traveling safely.
"TSA is currently exploring the use of Instagram to augment social media tools that provide timely information to travelers."
TSA spokesman David Castelveter told the Daily Mail that the agency has detected an upward trend in the number of guns intercepted.
The Daily Mail points out that the TSA found
894 weapons in the first six months of 2013—a 30 percent increase from the same period in 2012. Additionally, in 2012,
17 percent more
travelers than in 2011 attempted to smuggle weapons through airport security.
Though Twitter's 500 million users provide a larger
audience than Instagram's 130 million users, tweets
are only as good as the photos that go with them.
For the TSA, it's all about the visuals.
With the increase in gun traffic, the ability to tweet pictures is a valuable asset for the TSA. Its Instagram contains pictures of weapons that look like
they were taken at a crime lab.
The TSA is no stranger to social media. Its blog and Twitter page highlight items that travelers are not allowed to take on planes. It also has a YouTube page, as well as a mobile app with access to the most frequently asked security
Real-time updates of weapons in specific airports help passengers understand the need for intense security, in addition to providing an easy guide for what
not to bring onto an airplane.
Though it might seem obvious to many that they shouldn't carry certain items onto planes, to others that isn't the case. Just take a look at the TSA's
Apparently, a few of us got too excited for July 4.
[RELATED: Master the can't-ignore social media tools after Mark Ragan's one-day social media boot camp.]