Sunlight’s Twitter Lobby Campaign
Posted by Allison Fine on March 12, 2009
The Sunlight Foundation, always pushing the envelope on using social media tools to influence policy making in Washington, announced yesterday the launch of an effort to use Twitter to lobby individual Congress people to vote for
In an email received yesterday, Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of Sunlight, wrote:
Currently there are 17 senators tweeting and we intend to get our supporters to @lobby them to seek their support for S. 482. We believe that this will be the first organized direct lobbying of members of Congress over Twitter.
For those of you who don’t speak Washington, S. 482 is a bill introduced in the Senate to require the electronic disclosure of Senate campaign finance reports.
Not everyone thought this campaign was a great idea. Ethan Zuckerman wrote a blog post that said, in part:
I realized that the “ask” of the campaign was to send 17 identical tweets to the congresscritters who’ve adopted Twitter. This means that all my twitter followers get to see me nagging Congress – including the roughly half of them that don’t live in the US – with seventeen messages. And it means that Congressfolk start seeing what amounts to Twitter spam, and start dismissing it much as they learned to dismiss email.
So, has Twitter jumped the shark and just become another tool for spamming politicians and decision makers? Or is it, could it, be something fundamentally different? What if the focus of the campaign was to ask (a nicer word than insist, but perhaps the reality in is somewhere in between) that the 17 tweeting Senators engage in a discussion on Twitter about how we can help them to get this bill passed. Twitter has so far been used by elected officials as a one-way communication tool, they tweet about what’s on their mind, and we get to listen in. We could ask/insist that they use Twitter to engage in a two-way conversation about legislation. Would it be possible to get Senators to stop talking for a minute and start listening? Pretty high bar, I know, but perhaps worth reaching for.
This entry was posted on March 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm and is filed under Social Media. Tagged: Ellen Miller, Ethan Zuckerman, S. 482, sunlight foundation, Twitter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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