Social media acts as a new platform from which to communicate for most people. But when applied to Washington, it is “changing the tone, speed, and nature of the democratic dialogue” – at least that’s how the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) views it.
The barriers between the public and policymakers have been torn down by technology. Anyone can join the melee, and because of this, Congress can better gauge the public climate surrounding issues. Legislators are no longer ambiguous policy makers, but online personalities.
A recent report by the CMF is the first of three to examine the perceptions of Congressional staffers toward the application of social media by constituents, within Congressional offices, and in constituent communications operations.
The findings of #SocialCongress: Perceptions and Use of Social Media on Capitol Hill shows the following about the use of social media by Senators and Representatives:
- Used to gauge public opinion and communicate political views
- Its benefits far outweigh its risks as you have access to a (possibly) unreached segment of constituents
- Younger staffers more readily recognize its value
- Early adopters have a more positive view of constituent communications through this channel
- A large majority of staffers feel this resource is undervalued and underutilized
This report makes it clear how much Congressional staffers appreciate social media, but after it has felled so many of their colleagues, do Congressmen and women feel the love as well?