Lawmakers to the Public: Follow Me

Members of Congress increasingly are Tweeting and posting on Facebook, according to a new report.

It really should be called #ConstituentServices2.0.

A report released by the Congressional Research Service on March 22 assessed how members of the 112th Congress use Facebook and Twitter. The CRS said that social media technology has “arguably served to enhance” the ability of lawmakers to represent their constituents, and looked to see how exactly the technologies were being used. The study analyzed data on both services from August 2011 to October 2011, along with the service adoption rates as of January 2012.

Some of the report’s highlights:

  • Approximately 84 percent of the 112th Congress was registered on Twitter, and 90 percent had a registered account on Facebook.
  • House Republicans had the highest adoption rates on Facebook and Twitter as of January 2012 -- 94.7 percent and 87.3 percent for both services, respectively. Senate Democrats had the lowest adoption rates -- 78 percent for Facebook and 77 percent for Twitter.
  • Senate Republicans were the most active on Twitter and Facebook. They had 1.53 Tweets per day and .84 posts on Facebook. House Democrats were the least active on both services, with approximately 1 Tweet per day, and .49 posts on Facebook per day, according to the report.

The heaviest users of both services also influence the data. The report noted that the top 20 percent of the 112th Congress on Twitter accounted for nearly 56 percent of the Tweets published during the time period examined. Similarly, the top 20 percent of members on Facebook accounted for 53 percent of all posts.

Both services have become increasingly prominent as messaging campaigns and public relations battles are being fought through hashtags, and clever memes. How the data shapes up for the 113th Congress should be interesting to watch.

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