Friday, July 24, 2009

Lawmakers and Twitter: A match made in Twitterville?

Representative Della Au Belatti posted a question on Twitter yesterday asking her followers what they thought of a Yahoo! article criticizing tweeting politicians who use 140-character tweets to communicate with the public.

The article references Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's unintelligible tweets, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's TwitVids (Twitter videos) – specifically, the one of him wielding a large knife, and other national lawmakers who write about ballet, golf and other commonplace occurrences.

Rep. Belatti proposed this discussion topic:

DAuBelatti: Thoughts on politicians & twitter - do you agree w/Yahoo article? DAB: I admit to tweeting about daily activities.

I was able to find responses from four of her followers. Here is what they had to say:

Susan Jaworowski, an assistant professor and program director of the Legal Education Department at Kapiolani Community College, opined on the ways lawmakers should tweet, sans faux pas.

lavasusan: To @DAuBelatti Ways to do it right: make decisions transparent to public, keep them informed. Even human touches good if not the majority.

lavasusan: To @georgettedeemer @DAuBelatti: legislators can be as stupid or wise on Twitter as any other medium. mostly gets it right.

Gene Park, a former Star-Bulletin reporter, complimented Rep. Belatti on her 140-character tweeting skills and gave her the green light on tweeting personal commentary – as long as knife-wielding isn't part of the package.

genepark: @DAuBelatti I think you do a fine mix of personal and work related tweets. Mundane tweets humanizes the personality.

genepark: @DAuBelatti And tweeting on the job is not much of a timesink. The Arnold knifeholding thing is pretty weird though. Don't do that. :-)

The voice behind Makiki Talks, an on-line gathering place for everything Makiki, tweeted views that are shared amongst many social media critics. He/she suggests that elected officials are too careless when using new media.

MakikiTalks: @DAuBelatti I don't understand y elected officials who use trad [traditional] media so carefully, so strategically forget themselves in SoMe-social media.

MakikiTalks: @DAuBelatti People still scrutinize DECISION MAKING, & ultimately PERSON making decision. Don't want to see lack of judgment or inattention

MakikiTalks: @DAuBelatti the big decisions the people trust & give responsibility to make. Twitter is still earning credibility as a com tool.

A handful of Hawaii's elected officials, including Reps. Della Au Belatti, Jon Riki Karamatsu, Angus McKelvey, Cindy Evans and other capitol tweeps, are posting their thoughts and activities on the social-networking phenomenon that has recently found its way into the mainstream.

What are your thoughts on the Twitter etiquette of elected officials? Should they tweet about the mundane? Should they be tweeting at all? Is Twitter the appropriate medium to respond and discuss serious issues?

1 comment:

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