Monday, January 17, 2011

New Social Media Strategy for 2011 Session

During the past few weeks I have been giving some thought about how to use social media to provide a higher level of service to House District 31 constituents.

The use of social media has provided me with the obvious benefit of being able to communicate with a number of constituents and hear ideas to which I would not otherwise be exposed. This has been a resource which has made the commitment to social media more than worth the time and effort.

In early October, I wrote an update about another benefit afforded by these services. In that article I described my view that Twitter provided a delivery mechanism for the real-time distribution of documents and items which are of interest but which would not otherwise receive general circulation.

For instance, the Government Modernization Committee recently held a hearing where we studied the possibility of consolidating state government agencies. Following that study, Twitter, Facebook and Google Docs provided the means to deliver access to the documents which were referenced as part of the study. Constituents did not just have to take my word for the material the committee considered, but could see for themselves the content we studied -- and they could then make up their own minds about the veracity of the content. One reader asked to view the 1995 Keating-era report (you can still see it at

During the next session I intend to use social media services to deliver additional services to constituents, including the opportunity to view the most interesting House floor proceedings.

Last year, video of House proceedings was made available on the internet. This was one of the most important transparency reforms made by House leaders, and the public can now see House debates for themselves. While the right of the citizens to see these proceedings is important, I certainly understand that few have the time to set aside to watch these proceedings for an extended period of time. Besides, most of the happenings are fairly routine and don’t provide the viewer much incentive to stay tuned.

The fact that few have the resources and time to filter through the routine and uninteresting in order to see the important items should not be a barrier to access. Defining debates do occur, and all citizens should observe those debates in their proper context.

Fortunately, each of these debates is indexed with its own unique link on the website. This useful feature allows viewers to visit the specific debate in which they are interested without having to filter other content.

As I observe interesting debates this year, I plan to use Twitter and Facebook to distribute the links. I also plan to include these links in future articles when discussing the specific issues, so my email update recipients can see the debates for themselves. This way, they won’t have to take my word for what happened, but can view the debates and make up their own minds.

My challenge will be to select those debates which I feel will justify social media alerts. I don’t want to send out too many alerts and risk disincentivizing the viewer from clicking on the link. It will be my goal to send links only to those defining debates which you feel will justify your time and attention. I hope you will consider visiting some of these links and sending me your feedback throughout session.

I would also appreciate your suggestions about other ways I can use these services during the upcoming session. On Twitter I am @JWMurphey and you can also locate me at

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