WASHINGTON, DC — Think nobody on Capitol Hill is paying attention to what you care about? Then Tweet it!
A new report shows Congress is much more responsive to problems and concerns that come through social media. Maybe that’s because everyone can publicly see when they ignore it.
Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis says there is another more important reason, “It’s an opportunity to provide insight to issues that are important to the candidate or to the elected official that perhaps the mainstream media is not necessarily covering.”
He adds it is also a great way for the average citizen to get his voice heard. And folks like Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan are listening. “People send me messages through facebook,” he says, “I respond to them myself. I think it’s more efficient. I think it’s quicker, and it gives a much better positive impression of me as an officeholder and of this office that I was elected to serve.”
One really interesting finding in the Congressional Management Foundation’s new report is it doesn’t take much to get your rep to sit up and take notice. The survey that polled congressional staff shows just 30 comments on any subject will get them to pay attention.
Lewis points out there are also drawbacks to being too consumed by social media. “If they’re responding whack-a-mole to everything,” he says, “it can get you off track of really trying to create good legislation for the people.”
But the benefits far outweigh the negatives. “I think it connects us with our constituents very well,” says Sullivan, “I think it brings government to the people, and it makes us accountable.” That’s definitely something to “Like”!