Can Congress tweet? Should bloggers care?

by on July 28, 2008 · 9 comments

Continuing my campaign to bring attention to congressional web use rules, I have an article up at Ars Technica today. Bottom line:

Although the partisan tensions have now subsided a bit, the greater problem persists. Culberson’s use of video-sharing and microblogging technology continues to violate House rules. So do Speaker Pelosi’s YouTube channel, Digg profile, Flickr page, and Facebook profile. The new rules proposed by Capuano and supported by Pelosi would not authorize these uses. In contrast, alternative rules (PDF) proposed by the Republican minority would allow members to use any service so long as they comply with existing content rules that prohibit political or commercial endorsements in official communications.

The reason I think this is so important right now is that both the House and the Senate are currently looking to change their rules, and its vital that they get them right. I know the blogosphere knows what the right call is here, they just need to make sure that Congress gets the message. That said,

Since the initial [reaction on the blogs], however, the blogosphere has been relatively silent on the issue, which one imagines should be near and dear to its geek heart. The silence has been especially deafening from bloggers on the political left who are best positioned to influence the House Democratic leadership’s position. Pelosi spoke at this year’s Netroots Nation conference (formerly YearlyKos) and participated in an “Ask the Speaker” session. Not one question, however, related to congressional web use restrictions.

I hope you’ll spread the message about this by blogging about it, Digging the story, and generally spreading the word. This is not a partisan issue, it’s an issue on which all bloggers and technophiles can agree, and it’s definitely an issue that we can win.

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