ABC News recently took a look at the impact Twitter is having on Congressional communications. Most notably, they delve into how and why Republicans are using social media to communicate – and rebrand their party — following a lackluster November 2008.
Fifty members of Congress use the micro-blogging service Twitter to communicate with constituents, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan watchdog group that advocates for greater transparency through technology.
One might think that the party of our BlackBerry-wielding, text-happy president would be the one to lead the way in this ever-expanding Twitter-verse.
But, in Congress, it appears that, according to Sunlight, Twittering Republicans outnumber their Democratic counterparts almost 2 to 1.
"It is ironic, but they’re in the process of rebranding themselves," Thomas Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, told ABCNews.com, adding that Republicans partly attribute their loss in November to Barack Obama’s tech-savviness.
Twitter is definitely catching on in the political world. In Indiana, representatives from the state Democratic, Libertarian and Republican Parties can all be found on Twitter.
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ blog has a post explaining how some folks, who may lack free speech privileges in their countries, are using Facebook as a way to broadcast their political messages:
This ‘Facebook political movement’ has also taken off in Egypt. One blogger, Sandmonkey, talks about how new media are being used to promote political activism. The LA Times wrote an op-ed on how the Egyptian government has threatened to shut down Facebook, after it was credited for helping to mobilize protests against food prices earlier this year. Moroccans used YouTube to capture protesters clashing with security forces, because sights like this would not be shown on state-run TV. Activists in Lebanon used text messaging to organize an anti-Syria rally.
And as I’ve posted before, Congress has gotten in on the social media action via Twitter. In fact, Indiana’s gubernatorial candidates — Governor Mitch Daniels and challenger Jill Long Thompson — currently have their own feeds (as best I can tell, these are official campaign feeds and not just orchestrated by fans).