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Re: Twitter use by elected officials

From: Anne L. Washington <washingtona@acm.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2011 20:55:53 -0500 (EST)
To: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
cc: "eGov IG (Public)" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <alpine.DEB.1.00.1111132032300.23969@anneasus>
Bjoern,
Thank you for the interesting descriptions of what happens in your 
parliament.

I suspect that not all MPs are on twitter so a tweet is an interjection 
that is both oddly private and public. It is public because it is said in 
an open web page and ideally intended for the press and constituents. 
However it is also a private interjection if the MP tweets but does not 
speak. The contents of the remark would not be a part of the "public 
record of debate" and certainly not available to everyone on the floor at 
the time.

Letters and other paper documents are considered public records and are 
archived with legislative documents but emails are not. By asking how to 
archive social media, I was implying that they need to accompany other 
legislative records. While the Library of Congress has been archiving all 
tweets (not just U.S. Congressional Members), last time I checked it is a 
dark archive not open to remote scholars and it certainly does not 
accompany other legislative documents. There is still much work to do in 
the field of electronic records management for public institutions.

I agree that until some of these other issues are worked out, the news 
agencies might have the most complete public (and electronic) record of 
our legislative process.

Food for thought, indeed.

Anne L. Washington, PhD
Standards work: washingtona@acm.org
Academic work: George Mason University
http://policy.gmu.edu/washington

On Sat, 12 Nov 2011, Bjoern Hoehrmann wrote:

> * Anne L. Washington wrote:
>> The U.S. equivalent of the Hansard is the Congressional Record, if I
>> remember well. They are both official records of what is said on the
>> floors during legislative debate. A tweet is an interesting artifact but
>> not an official part of the debate. Should it or can it be regulated
>> differently?  I suppose it depends on what the situation is.
>
> A possible development is that representatives in parliament actually
> start to discuss some matter currently being debated in parliament on-
> line instead of in parliament directly, in which case there would be
> a de-facto versus de-jure situation whether that is "official". Here
> in Germany interjections go into the official protocol; whether the
> representative shouts it out alound or via some online service is not
> all that different if you consider that some news organizations that
> cover debates are experimenting with showing the video feed alongside
> online discussions in a single interface on their web sites. For the
> citizen watching, the online comment may actually be more real than
> what is spoken out aloud, as that is often much harder to make out.
>
>> Given the difficulty in establishing email as part of a legislative
>> archive, I imagine that establishing tweets is much further down the road
>> in terms of records management policy.
>
> E-Mail would seem to be much more difficult as it is private, in the
> immediate access control sense, by default, while this would primarily
> concern communications that are public by default, I would think.
> --
> Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
> Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
> 25899 Dagebüll · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/
>
Received on Monday, 14 November 2011 01:56:24 GMT

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