Congressional Black Caucus Members Among Top Congressional Social Media Users

Congressional Black Caucus Members Among Top Congressional Social Media Users

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As technology and telecommunications become more important to the way we live our lives, more members of the U.S. Congress are beginning to actively use social media and take advantage of the opportunity to directly reach and communicate with their constituents.  Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus have also joined this wave.
Of the 535 members of Congress, 127 Republicans, 103 Democrats and 2 Independents tweet, according to TweetCongress, a website that tracks lawmakers’ Twitter accounts. This May, Facebook launched its Congress on Facebook page which highlights members’ usage of the social networking tool and includes the pages of the 20 CBC members on Facebook. You can find information about CBC Members without individual Facebook pages on the Congressional Black Caucus’ Facebook fan page, which currently boasts about 23,000 “likes.” Likewise, the CBC YouTube Channel features videos of members’ events and speeches on the House floor for those wanting instant access to their members’ activities on the Hill.
Much like everything these days, even social media usage among Congressional legislators is partisan.  Republicans in the House and Senate outpace their Democratic counterparts when it comes to engaging social media.  A recent Hill article cited sources claiming that 79% of the GOP is on Facebook, with another 89% using YouTube and 64% using Twitter. Those figures compare to the 34% of Democratic House members on Facebook and 20% of members with Twitter accounts.
In an effort to level the social media playing field, Democrats on the Hill initiated a new media challenge, similar to one previously held by Hill Republicans.  The two-week contest, dubbed the “Member Online All-Star Competition,” was designed to encourage lawmakers to rack up Twitter followers, Facebook Fans and YouTube Subscribers. The top 50 performers were listed as All-Stars, and the winner was crowned MVP.
Seven members of the CBC were among the top 50 performers, including Representatives Marcia Fudge (OH), Maxine Waters (CA), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), John Lewis (GA), Barabara Lee (CA), Charles Rangel (IL) and Keith Ellison (MN).
The benefits of increased social media use by lawmakers flow both ways.  Members of the news media and political junkies alike now have instant, up to the minute access to floor activity, and can gain an inside look at the personalities, and even senses of humor, of elected officials, who at points in the past seemed beyond reach.  Recently, the Hill compiled active government executives and legislators into a list of the “25 Must Follow Twitter Feeds,” including members of the top legislative committees, as well as governors and other active accounts.  Representative Charles Rangel was the only CBC member to make that list.
Meanwhile, to seize upon the momentum being created by an increased use of social media usage by lawmakers, several sites have emerged to offer easy ways for constituents to follow their representatives.  Congressional140.com and Tweet Congress stream and capture members’ tweets as they make them.  GovTwit.com spans a broad directory of government agencies, and elected officials on Twitter, including state, local, federal and military agencies, elected officials and even foreign governments.
With the politics of personality definitely on the rise, social media is making an indelible imprint on our culture, and is enabling new levels of civic engagement, political discourse and transparency unlike anything ever seen before in previous eras.

4 COMMENTS

  1. With Black "unemployment/and recovery from imprisonment" always above national highs the U.S. Congress and Senate should set aside taxation of felons. This unrecognized class of persons currently endure taxation without equal rights to employment. Why should such a person be taxed?

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