The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) studies effective approaches for communicating with elected officials, both online and in person. Their “Social Congress” reports examine the use and influence of social media on and by Members of Congress. They update this data every few years (and we’ll update this post for you when the next report comes out).
The most recent online surveys were conducted between July and August 2014 – one of House and Senate Communications Directors and the other of House and Senate Legislative Directors and Legislative Assistants. CMF received a total of 116 responses: 53% were communications staffers while 47% were legislative and policy staffers; 55% were employed by Democrats and 45% by Republicans; 83% were employed in the House while 17% were employed in the Senate.
Some key takeaways for those of us looking to engage elected officials using social media:
- Senators and Representatives are more inclined to use social media than they were in the past.
- Staff generally feel social media has improved relationships between constituents and Congress.
- Thirty or fewer similar comments on a social media post are enough to get an office’s attention, but they need to be posted quickly or they may not be seen.
- Social media posts by sontituents can influence undecided Senators and Representatives, but staff generally do not feel social media posts provide enough information to identify constituents.
To read the entire report, click here.