Should Representatives Twitter?

The Clip: A video clip of the Daily Show last night:

[http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/2009/03/03/jon-stewart-and-samantha-bee-show-us-their-twitters/]

My Two Cents:

– Why do the Congresspeople find it necessary to Twitter at all?

– Is there a security risk in Twittering? (i.e. a Tweet that says, “lol the metal detector at the whitehouse is broken- bring ur guns!!!)

– Isn’t it rude to Twitter whilst the President of the United States is address the joint chambers of Congress?

– Are the 140 characters people are allowed really going to convey meaningful information?

I’ll admit it though- it’s kinda cool to see my senator (Claire McCaskill, D-MO) on Twitter. I’m totally following her, and this was her post in response to the Daily Show and Twitter critics:

Those naysayers bout twitter don’t get it. It’s all about communication. Communication is always a good thing especially in my job. (about 3pm EST today)

Try to tweet 3-4 times a day. Combo of policy, personal,schedule,politics. Want to be candid and give a real glimpse of my life and job. (about 9am EST yesterday)

Kris,Love being able to communicate directly,no filter or editing 🙂 Began during the inaugural at urging of my kids. (about 9am EST yesterday, as response)

She seems a little defensive, but I can definitely understand where she is coming from. Twitter provides an unfiltered access to communication between the Senator and her constituents. This access is essential to a healthy representative democracy. It provides a forum for ideas and feedback for the Senator without a news agency or big media filtering it. With this direct communication, Senator McCaskill is held more accountable. And she appears to really be keeping up with it, making it a valuable tool. While there are those of us who only Tweet when we have something funny or clever to say, Senator McCaskill’s Tweets are about her votes in Congress, policy decisions, opinions on appointments, and more. She doesn’t shy away from personal details either, and provides her followers with some insight into her personal life, which is nice, and it makes me feel more connected to her.

Conclusion: Keep up the Twittering, oh honorable Senator from Missouri! I love getting the insight into politics and you! I just ask you don’t Twitter when the president is speaking and don’t disclose any state secrets…
For more representatives in Congress who Tweet, see: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Members_of_Congress_who_Twitter

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