Tweet Congress: Missing our locally electeds

Out in the community
Driehaus calling TwitterFone?

So, does your Congressional representative or Senator want you to know what’s going on? Well, if you look around the Greater Cincinnati area the answer would be mostly no.

Using TweetCongress, an amazingly great use of the Twitter API, you can follow exactly what is going on with your federally-elected officials. What’s even more amazing is that they publicly harass those Members of Congress who are not on Twitter to join.

Here’s what the intro to their site says:

“We the Tweeple of the United States, in order to form a more perfect government, establish communication, and promote transparency do hereby Tweet the Congress of the United States of America.”

via Tweet Congress.

I love it!

As Steve Driehaus‘s campaign communications director, I worked hard to get Driehaus into as much social networking and new media as possible (much was done before I got there, but there was still plenty to do). He was open to it, but, as I think he openly admits, it isn’t his strong suit. Plus, too many politicians think the mainstream media is their best shot and the other stuff is just “extra.” True, to a large extent. But not for long.

I am proud to say Driehaus got much better at it as the campaign wore on (even agreeing to have a blogger meet-up, which was fantastic). TweetCongress says Driehaus is not on Twitter, which isn’t exactly true. It just hasn’t been updated since I posted the last Tweet the day after election day thanking everyone for their support. Get on it, folks! It’s a great way to keep in touch with your constieuents…

Who else is on Twitter locally? Well, if you ask TweetCongress, House Minority Leader John Boehner of West Chester, Ohio – just on the outskirts of the Cincinnati Metro area – is the only one. Rep. Jean Schmidt of the Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District (and my representative, now that I live in Mount Washington) and Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District do not Twitter.

My work on this political campaign and consulting communications on another this past year made me realize one amazing thing: Politicians are waaay behind the curve on the technology front – with one major exception. President Barack Obama. ‘Nuff said.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

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