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Carlea Holl-Jensen||cholljen@umd.edu


HCIL-2009-32

Golbeck, J., Grimes, J., Rogers, A. (December 2009)
Twitter Use by the U.S. Congress
HCIL-2009-32

Twitter is a microblogging and social networking service with millions of members and growing at a tremendous rate. With the buzz surrounding the service have come claims of its ability to transform the way people interact and share information, and calls for public gures to start using the service. In this study, we are interested in the type of content that legislators are posting to the service, particularly by members of the United States Congress. We read and coded over 6,000 posts from all members of Congress using the site. Our analysis shows that Congresspeople are primarily using Twitter to post information, particularly links to news articles about themselves and to their blog posts, and to report on their daily activities. These tend not to provide new insights into government or the legislative process or to improve transparency; rather, they are vehicles for self-promotion. However, Twitter is also facilitating direct communication between Congresspeople and citizens, though this is a less popular activity. We report on our ndings and analysis, and discuss other uses of Twitter for legislators.



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