We all know by now what a magnifying impact Twitter, the micro blogging sensation, has had on politics. Capitol Hill is no exception. Here are some key highlights from the week of Twitter on the Hill.
Trending Topics this week, according to Tweet Congress, a web site dedicated to tracking tweets from Members of Congress, include: #haiti, #morejobs, #hcr and #tcot. (TCOT = top conservatives on Twitter). Remember, hash tags are tools that help you to follow a conversation. So if a user uses #hrc in their 140 character update, it will funnel into a conversation thread with more #hcr.
Some interesting hash tags I found from Republicans include #repealit and #KilltheBill, no doubt in reference to health care. From the Democrats, at least this week, I found less Twitter output. Their hashtags revolved around #haiti, #hcr and personal state hash tags such as #MO for Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). It seems Republicans are finding more creative uses of hashtags, a smart and effective way of targeting messages…at least at this moment.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has the most followers in Congress with 1,731,314. It seems his daughter and personal brand extraordinare, Meghan McCain, has taught him a thing or two. One of his most recent Tweets read, “Let’s all support Google’s efforts to fight censorship of the internet by the Chinese Government.” If you’ve been keeping up, Google is considering pulling out of China because of cyber attacks and Internet censorship. Read more at Voice of America here.
How are the Members using Twitter? The most frequent uses I see are: crowd sourcing constituent feedback, personal promotion, and slamming the opposite party. The real question remains – how much of the Tweeting is being done personally by the Member or filtered through a staffer? It’ll be interesting to dissect in the coming weeks because truly, the most effective use of an social media tool is when the individual voice comes across and relates to the community.
References: Not sure what all this lingo means? Here are some quick tips.
Direct Message (DM): Private message between two people.
Favorites: A public area to save your favorite tweets of the users you follow.
Followers: People who choose to receive your updates.
Handle: Your username (e.g., @EricaAmerica)
Hashtag: A tag that allows for conversation tracking.
ReTweet: e.g., RT @WhiteHouse: Sharing someone else’s tweets with followers (and vice versa).
Updates (aka Tweets): Posting a 140-character or less message on Twitter.