Congress can Tweet, Follow Them with Capitol Tweets Widget

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On Friday, we told you about the happy ending to months of negotiations to modernize the Franking rules that govern how members of Congress can use the Internet to communicate with us about their work. The new rules just passed by the House and Senate allow members of Congress to communicate with us on sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flickr without recrimination. (We advocated for these rules changes through our bipartisan collaborative effort, the Open House Project, and through our popular Let Our Congress Tweet campaign, the first Twitter-based petition to Congress, which hundreds of you joined.)

Before these new rules were passed, lawmakers could not officially embed a YouTube video on their official Web site, nor could they join us in political conversations around the popular virtual water cooler that Twitter has become.

To celebrate this historic precedent, we created Capitol Tweets, a widget you can embed on your site that updates you every 10 minutes with the latest tweets from members of Congress who use Twitter. Download the widget, and while you’re watching the tweets fly, check out this effort by David All (who co-wrote the Open House Project chapter on Franking reform with Sunlight’s Paul Blumenthal) to grade them on their tweets.

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  • Hi, Gabriela from Sunlight here. Thanks for your helpful feedback on improving the functionality of the Capitol Tweets widget! I’ve shared your responses with the Sunlight Labs team. Check back here for updates.

  • This is great!–but I have a request: is there a quick and dirty way to modify the script and filter it just for those Members who are from your home state? I run a state community blog in Oregon, and I’d love to have tweets from my Congresspeople…but just them, no one else.

    Thanks!

  • Thank you for this, and for the hard work that went into it. I do have a couple of suggestions that might help the widget become even more popular and useful to more bloggers:

    1) It needs to be available in different sizes – right now, it’s too wide for a lot of sidebars.

    2) It needs to have links to the legislator’s Twitter profiles, so folks reading the feed can friend, reply, etc..

    Thanks, again…great idea!

    Jenn