Monday, March 31, 2008

Abercrombie and Twitter

Props to Joe Philipson for helping introduce Twitter to Senator Abercrombie....

Hill’s Weak Tweets

March 31, 2008
By Emily Heil and Anna Palmer,
Roll Call Staff

Members of Congress long ago missed their opportunity to invent the Internet (thanks, Al Gore!), but they still have the chance to be Twitter pioneers.

Plenty of Members have signed onto Twitter, the “micro-blogging” network that allows users to send subscribers short updates on their whereabouts and doings, but few are actually using the techno-darling service the way it’s meant to be used.

According to HOH’s survey of Twittering Members, many set up accounts with high hopes of posting often, only to disappoint with infrequent entries — or none at all.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), for example, announced in her first and only post, “I look forward to posting on Twitter!” But alas, 11 months later, we’re still holding our breath.

Political Internet consultant Bill Beutler of New Media Strategies tells HOH that although Members certainly aren’t maximizing Twitter, often just setting their profiles to include new blog posts without generating any Twitter-specific posts, they still have a chance to get with the times. “If this does turn into the next big thing, they would look like they got there first,” he tells HOH.

Surprisingly, the 69-year-old Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) is one of the more savvy users of Twitter. Abercrombie has posted little updates on his daily life — “Lunch at Kincaids” was a recent entry, or “tweet” in Twitter-speak — on the service. Spokesman Dave Helfert says his boss isn’t necessarily the most wired guy, but says his staff has made online applications like blogging and Twittering a priority since it’s a way to reach young constituents. “If we want to reach young people about what’s going on in Washington, this is how we’re going to have to do it,” he says.

Let’s face it, we’re all dying to know the every move of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who’s a sometimes-Twitter-er.

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