Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Congressional Offices DO Pay Attention to What You Post on Social Media!

In October 2014, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) released some polling information that provides shocking news about social media and its impact on legislative offices. At least I thought it was shocking, but maybe that’s because I’m old.

For the longest time, social media used to be a somewhat challenging way to get a Congressional office’s attention, mainly because it’s not ‘place-based.’ In other words, legislators and their staff have no way of knowing whether the people commenting on their blogs, Facebook pages, or Twitter accounts are constituents.  And since constituents rule when it comes to policy decisions, that meant that social media could go only so far in influencing outcomes.

Well, that’s apparently changing. The study suggests that the inability to separate constituent communications from those outside the district “doesn’t really matter much to lawmakers, who see social media more as a barometer of public opinion” (attributed to Brad Fitch, President and CEO of CMF). As with any advocacy campaign, though, the quality of the communications matter more than the quantity. Staffers can tell the difference between the mass tweets encouraged by an advocacy group and the ‘real deal.’ And when it comes to the real deal, a majority of offices polled said that even a single constituent commenting on their own was considered influential. Even in the social media world, one personalized communication can make a difference.

So find your legislators on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn  -- whatever have you – and start commenting. Politely, please. 

- Written by Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Guru

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