Thursday, December 18, 2008

We the Tweeple of the United States of America...

Following Barrack Obama's enormous success in harnessing the power of the internet during his presidential campaign, members of Congress are rapidly jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon.

Nearly all Congressmen now sport freshly created Facebook and MySpace pages, and their staffs are working diligently to create for themselves a presence on other social-networking and microblogging sites like Twitter.

A terrific example of the potential of such tools is Tweet Congress. The site lets you find out if your member of Congress is using Twitter, aggregates the Tweetstreams of all Congressmen on the service, and analyzes the data on a state-by-state basis, according to political party, and which Congressmen are the most active and who has the most followers.

The site's preamble reads, "We the Tweeple of the United States, in order to form a more perfect government, establish communication, and promote transparency do hereby Tweet the Congress of the United States of America."

The convergence of politics with Twitter isn't really new. The British Parliament has taken the lead in such innovations for quite some time with its implementation of Tweetminster.

Is there any real significance to this, or is it just an interesting novelty that will pass in a few weeks? Time will tell. However, what's undeniable is that legislators are at least showing a greater willingness to experiment in cyberspace. By using more avenues and forms of media to directly communicate with the public, one thing seems certain to be apparent when the dust settles... We're finally moving beyond Congressmen simply having a static website.


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