Congress goes high tech: House Education and Labor and 3 other Congressional Committee's go live on Twitter

Committees on House Education and Labor, Science and Technology, Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming are the first four Congressional Committees to join Twitter.

This is a big step in keeping up to date on what's happening regarding hearings, markups and press releases, but, hold on a minute...

...whats a Twitter?
(if your the above average nerd type like myself skip to the next section)

It's a little hard to explain, even though I use it, I'm a total n00b, so here goes.

Twitter is an micro-blogging internet tool that allows you to write whats happening in your life or business and share your words and links to your "followers" from your computer or mobile device (sending a TWEET). "Followers" (People who subscribe to your Twitter account profile) can see on either the internet(PC, laptop, Wii, etc.) or text messaging on their mobile device (cell phone, iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) what you have posted ("TWEETED/TWITTED").

Got it? Now even I'm confused, heres a video that explains one of the ways in which it can be used

Video Link:Twitter in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Now I for the life of me wouldn't want toTwitter, Joe's Union Review, labor bother talking about baseball to everyone I know at the same time, but that doesn't mean that this site can't have a Twitter account.

The Joe's Union Review Twitter is used to post interesting links I have found, links to my latest writings and create new friendships in the labor movement. On the bottom right hand of the picture you can see some of the people I follow. Some of them are friends, some acquaintances, labor friendly organizations and stuff that interests me in my work here at the site. I currently follow 62 Twitter accounts. 49 follow my writings (they are just being kind) and I have a total of 84 posts.

Twitter's potential as a campaigning tool


Eric Lee, the creator of Labourstart, the Internets premiere RSS newswire, and UnionBook, a Facebook style social networking platform for unionists worldwide, wrote about Twitter way before it took off. He, while skeptical , like most of us realized the potential, heres a snippet of an article way back in June of 2008(eons in internet time), entitled "Twitter as a campaigning tool"
The real power of Twitter is that it's platform-independent. You receive those messages where it's most convenient for you. That can be through your own Twitter page on the web, or it can be as text messages to your mobile phone, or via the Instant Messager of your choice, or through an RSS news feeds.

I have to confess that when Twitter was launched, I was told about by a friend in the Netherlands. I didn't get it. It struck me as being just one more time-waster. It turns out that he was right and I was wrong. Now I think that Twitter offers real potential for campaigning organizations like unions.

Though launched for one specific purpose (to tell your friends what you're doing) Twitter was quickly adapted by campaigning organizations for our own purposes. I'm reminded of Meetup.com, designed as a dating service but now widely used by political campaigns.
This past November, when I first signed onto Twitter, the idea of politics in a heartbeat were full force, you could only imagine how many links to everything that was going on during the Presidential campaign were posted.

A promise for greater transparency in Government
Four Committees important to a working America are now on Twitter.

Here's the press release from The U.S. House Of Representatives: Education and Labor Committee, titled "House Committees Take the Lead on Using Social Media to Ensure Transparency":
WASHINGTON, DC – Committees on House Education and Labor, Science and Technology, Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming are the first four Congressional Committees to join Twitter. These Committees use Twitter as a new tool to reach their audience and ensure transparency between the government and the public.

“Like President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, I believe that greater transparency in government is critical and will continue to use new media to open up our committee’s work to the public. I’m pleased to announce our use of another tool, Twitter, to inform the American public about the important work we are doing to rebuild our economy, strengthen our middle class, and improve the lives of America’s children, students, workers and families,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA).

“I believe government works best when it is transparent and information is accessible to all. I want to ensure that the public can easily keep tabs on what the Committee is working on. Our website is a resource for stakeholders, students, teachers, the media, and citizens around the country. This is another tool to help make government work better for the people we are serving,” stated House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).
Twitter allows anyone to create a free account.

Links to Committee sites - Twitter nicks and accounts:

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