Creating #hashtags for the people and by the people


Recently I came across an interesting question out on LinkedIn that was asked by a woman by the name of Dawn Boyer. She asked:  Should Congress have this type of social media communications in committee? Dawn makes the case:

Many citizens have been screaming, ‘There is no transparency in congressional chambers – too many behind closed doors discussions!’

What would happen if CNN, CSPAN, FOX, and other news media have a little competition in that viewers could Twitter, IM, or Post to the Wall in a Social Media – like commentary from the American Public during the committee meetings, while they are televised, so congressional aides can gather data from those feeds to get an ‘idea’ of what the American People are thinking as the discussions take place?”

My expanded response to this question is this: Something similar has already been done. The Obama Campaign got it right and proved that social media can be used effectively in business and politics. They are still using it as an effective tool and to have meaningful dialogue around important causes. During the Obama / McCain debates information was being addressed in real time via Twitter by the Obama Campaign and the people observing it, with the use of #hashtags. Anything that McCain would give a fact that was incorrect, the Obama Campaign responded right a way by tweeting Fact Checks. It was fascinating to watch.

What if Congress provided the media with a hashtag that can be used for everyone’s reference. Each hashtag could be issue specific but in a format so everyone knows it is governmental.  I am not suggesting that Congress uses it to tweet, but rather the public could use it as a place to share their sentiments. Congress, journalists and bloggers could use some of the insight for media stories or voting to pass or veto bills. A similar example that comes to mind is we know what type of website we are going to that ends in .edu (educational institutions) or .org (non-profit organizations) or .com.

It’s been said that the government is slow to adapt to new technologies. They have to start sooner rather than later in this area when it comes to social media. Our governmental representatives have a duty to listen to the people and social media can be a tool to help. I believe the initiative should be initiated by the people. We see it everyday on Twitter when hot topics trend occure via #hashtags that someone starts.

In order for social media work, whether in government or the general public, the first step is to listen to what is being said. There is a place for social media in politics. As citizens, it is our role to initiate the process and make the suggestions.

There are many people out who don’t understand what “listening to internet chatter” means. In case you are one of those people, please refer to an older post I wrote called, “Did you know you can listen to the internet? I hope you find it helpful. Chime in, please share your thoughts below! Kakie Fitzsimmons

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To learn more about Kakie Fitzsimmons, please select "A NOTE FROM KAKIE" tab at the top left of this page. Thanks for visiting my blog!

2 Responses to Creating #hashtags for the people and by the people

  1. Dawn Boyer says:

    Thanks for taking notice Kakie – I did get many very interesting responses to the post, and some suggestions that the Congress Members shouldn’t be taking time out to during the committee meetings to post Twitter messages! (wow – that was a silly comment)

    My suggestion was since the social media use was very ingeniously used by politicians (current President showed they could play the tech game) during elections, why couldn’t they use them more effectively on the job itself? I get a paper survey form every six months from my elected official asking me my opinion about several questions that runs two to three pages. Those paper forms have to be tabulated, added up, reports generated, and I’m sure it takes a few weeks for most constituents to get around to sending them back. If the congressman had suggested I go online to answer the questions, s/he would have enough answers to statistically get a good idea of what the people are thinking.

    Ever wonder why the polls only ask about 500 to 1000 folks about their opinions on surveys? Because once you have over 1,000 people in your population, you only need about 377-380 answers to get a statistically significant set of responses that would cover the response rate for those 1,000+ people. (I just learned that in my statistics class this semester – cool stuff!)

    So if a congressional member was in committee asking questions of an interviewee, and Twitter responses or questions popped up where aides were calculating or counting the themes, once they reached 379, they would get a really good gist of what the people wanted. BUT, again, once person pointed out – what happens if someone from a lobby group got folks to Twitter en masse to leverage an answer or response? That could happen, so perhaps certain geographic areas of the country can have average citizens sign up to listen, respond, and make commentary – those that have no affiliation with lobby groups, political parties (other than voting purposes only), etc.

    So I would love to see other commentary on this idea, and thanks, Kakie, for pushing this for further consideration, thought, and review!

    Dawn Boyer
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/DawnBoyer
    I accept all LinkedIn invites.

  2. Melfr99 says:

    Wow! Great idea Kakie! I like it a lot.
    Thanks for writing a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Maybe someone in Congress or the media or both will take a look at this!

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