Politicians Embracing Technology To Actually Communicate With Constituents
from the warms-my-heart dept
There was some buzz this evening (I'm guessing kicked off by a post by Robert Scoble about politicians embracing technology in DC) with people pointing out that a Texas congressman named John Culberson has his own Twitter account. If you look at it, it's pretty clear that it's Culberson himself who's using it -- and he's actually talking and listening to what people are saying to him. He's also using the mobile phone video streaming service Qik to shine some sunlight on what actually happens in Congress -- and even tried (but wasn't allowed) to do a video with the President from the Oval Office, but was stopped by the Secret Service. There's another congressman named Tim Ryan who is also on Twitter, though he's not following anyone else or talking with anyone else -- just communicating one way.
This evening, Culberson also hosted a "Virtual Town Hall" meeting on his own website. Apparently he's been hosting town hall meetings via a phone system which dials a bunch of constituents in his district and lets them ask him questions -- but he expanded it tonight to the internet using Ustream, broadcast video and allowing text chat too. Watching the video, you see quite clearly that it's just him talking directly to people. There's no one "screening" the calls or limiting who is saying what to him -- and he's not shying away from questions at all. Whether or not you agree with him politically (and there's plenty I disagree with him on), it's fascinating to see an elected official in DC actually embracing technology to communicate directly with people in a way that isn't just him broadcasting a message to people. It's also impressive to see politicians using technology to communicate with (not to) people, rather than hide from them (or just to squeeze money out of them). Hopefully other politicians will start to do the same thing.