I’ve been following an interesting conversation on twitter between Amanda Chappel and Texan Congressman John Culberson on his use of social media tools so he can ‘better communicate with the public and become more accessible to my constituents.’
Through the use of twitter and Qik, Culberson has been broadcasting from the floor of Congress in an effort to shine some ‘sunlight’ on congressional procedures.
Whilst this in itself is a good thing, it appears to contravene a number of congressional rules on the use of ‘approved’ websites that require the politician to provide a disclaimer indicating: ‘this tweet is a communication from an official federal representative’ (that’s 66 characters twitter users).
Digging a little deeper into the debate, it’s obvious that there is some political grandstanding involved which Shelby Highsmith does a great job of covering. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi also chimes in, responding to a number of ‘inaccurate rumours’.
Politics aside, I think Culberson is genuinely trying to change the way the US government works. The debate he has helped force, looks like it will influence new rules for Congressional engagement (with some help from the sunlight foundation) and more elected representatives will be using social media to communicate with their constituents.
Perhaps it’s time to get Tom an N95?