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Re: Twitter use by elected officials

From: Anne L. Washington <washingtona@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 11:08:01 -0500 (EST)
To: John Erickson <olyerickson@gmail.com>, clift@e-democracy.org
cc: "eGov IG (Public)" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <alpine.OSX.1.00.1111151057440.1163@annemacbookpro.local>
Steven and John,

I am working on some research about this so have a few references to 
share. You are right there aren't that many current studies out there. 
You may already be aware of the "franking rules" which are 
supposed to distinguish between campaign communication and 
political/constituent communication for Congress here in the U.S. Other 
countries have similar rules. The UN E-Parliament reports have tracked 
legislative use of all technology around the world since 2008 and provide 
good longitudinal world wide data http://www.ictparliament.org/

* House information on Franking: 
http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/franked.aspx
* US Code section on Franking : 
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_sec_39_00003210----000-.html
* Twitter Use by the U.S. Congress by Jennifer Golbeck, Justin Grimes, 
Anthony Rogers Journal of the American Society for Information Science and 
Technology  http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/asi.21344
Volume 61, Issue 8, pages 1612–1621, August 2010
A preprint is available at  http://hcil.cs.umd.edu/trs/2009-32/2009-32.pdf 
and on Citeseerx


Dan has a very good point about private tweets through Direct Messaging 
(DM) service. If it is on an official account using government hardware, 
can a private tweet actually be public information? Seems like there could 
be a strong argument for yes.



Anne L. Washington, PhD
Standards work - W3C - washingtona@acm.org
Academic work - George Mason University
http://policy.gmu.edu/washington/


On Tue, 15 Nov 2011, John Erickson wrote:

> Apologies for not (yet) having the mental bandwidth to contribute to
> this discussion --- even though I was one who helped light the fire
> during our F2F!
>
> I'm doing a bit of background on this, on the theory that surely
> someone has thought about this before (shocking, I know!). I found
> this wickedly outdated report (Feb '10) from the Congressional
> Research Service that might be of interest. I'm much more interested
> in finding a Berkman Center-style analysis, however...
>
> "Social Networking and Constituent Communications: Member Use of
> Twitter During a Two-Month Period in the 111th Congress"
> Matthew Eric Glassman (Analyst on the Congress) <mglassman@crs.loc.gov>
> Colleen J. Shogan (Senior Specialist in Government and Finance)
> <cshogan@crs.loc.gov>
> Jacob R. Straus (Analyst on the Congress) <jstraus@crs.loc.gov>
> February 3, 2010
> <http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41066.pdf > (PDF)
>
> "...This report examines Member use of one specific new electronic
> communication medium:
> Twitter. After providing an overview and background of Twitter, the
> report analyzes patterns of
> Member use of Twitter during August and September 2009. This report is
> inherently a snapshot in
> time of a dynamic process. As with any new technology, the number of
> Members using Twitter
> and the patterns of use may change rapidly in short periods of time.
> Thus, the conclusions drawn
> from this data can not be easily generalized nor can these results be
> used to predict future
> behavior.
>
> "The data show that 205 Representatives and Senators are registered
> with Twitter (as of September
> 30, 2009) and issued a total of 7,078 “tweets” during the data
> collection period of August and
> September 2009. With approximately 38% of House Members and 39% of
> Senators registered
> with Twitter, Members sent an average of 116 tweets per day collectively..."
>
> On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 8:59 AM, Steven Clift <clift@e-democracy.org> 
wrote:
>
>     My key concern - separating campaign-based and government funded 
tweeting.
>
>     I think any "representative" must be done using official resources 
or tax dollars are subsidizing the creation on campaign communication 
resources.
>
>     Has anyone researched or explored this issue?
>
>     Steven Clift
>
>     --
>     Steven Clift - http://stevenclift.com
>       Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org
>       Follow me - http://twitter.com/democracy
>       New Tel: +1.612.234.7072
>
>
> On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM, Dan Bevarly <dbev@bevarly.com> wrote:
>> While we focused on the "public tweet" which does raise a number of issues
>> and challenges for reporting and archival purposes, there is another
>> challenge around private tweets, or the DM feature of Twitter, between those
>> who follower each other --with one of them an elected official.  Just as
>> with text messaging or Blackberry PINs, for example, these types of
>> communiqués when engaged during official proceedings should be captured and
>> reported or not allowed to transpire IMO. Thanks all. Very insightful
>> comments here.
>>
>> Daniel Bevarly
>> Public Communications Management Strategies
>> Direct:   239.823.1811
>> dbev@bevarly.com
>>
>> What is public communications management?
>> http://www.aheadofideas.com/?page_id=986
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Anne L. Washington [mailto:washingtona@acm.org]
>> Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 8:56 PM
>> To: Bjoern Hoehrmann
>> Cc: eGov IG (Public)
>> Subject: Re: Twitter use by elected officials
>>
>> 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/
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> John S. Erickson, Ph.D.
> Director, Web Science Operations
> Tetherless World Constellation (RPI)
> <http://tw.rpi.edu> <olyerickson@gmail.com>
> Twitter & Skype: olyerickson
>
>
Received on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 16:08:37 GMT

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