More lawmakers using Twitter to communicate

WASHINGTON — With a 140-character limit on Twitter posts, you wouldn’t think the long-winded politicians in the nation’s capital would be that interested in this new technology.

Think again.

As the craze sweeps the country, many lawmakers — including Ohio Republican Reps. Bob Latta, Jim Jordan and Steve Austria — have joined the online bandwagon.

“We have so many different ways that people are communicating today, and there are so many people who aren’t using traditional ways to communicate, so you have to be out there using all different ways to reach people,” Latta said.

Latta, who has been using Twitter since 2008 and has more than 2,500 followers, is co-chairman of the Republican New Media Caucus, which encourages members to use Web tools like Twitter, YouTube and Flickr to communicate.

“With everything, it just takes a long time for some folks, but as communication changes, so must you,” Latta said, adding he expects to see more lawmakers start posting online updates, or “tweets.”

According to TweetCongress.org, which tracks members of Congress who tweet and encourages those who don’t to start, 115 members of Congress use Twitter, including 78 Republicans and 37 Democrats.

In Ohio, eight out of 20 lawmakers use Twitter, ranking it as the third-most active state (after California and Texas) in terms of tweeting lawmakers.

Some lawmakers, like House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, have staff members run their Twitter accounts, which are used more to spread the political message.

Others, like Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., tweet about everything.

“There’s no right or wrong way to do it,” said Nick Schaper, who works in Boehner’s House minority leader office and runs the “GOPLeader” Twitter handle.

Latta, Jordan and Austria tend to follow the Boehner model, posting links to statements on things like the AIG bonuses, votes in the House or Obama’s budget and announcements about upcoming town hall meetings.

Austria, who is new to Twitter and has just 244 followers, posted his first tweet Wednesday: “The AIG bonuses are outrageous. I cosponsored legislation to recover the taxpayers’ money within two weeks.”

Jordan has posted about radio shows he plans to be on and where he’ll be on a given week.

On Feb. 17, he posted: “back in the district this week, hearing what folks have to say about the stimulus package.” And on March 11, he posted: “busy in Washington.”

Access:tweetcongress on Twitter!

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One Response

  1. […] Original post by Charry Jin […]

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