A number of newly elected lawmakers have serious experience with Internet technology and used the Internet in the campaign more than any previous class of incoming congressmen. According to TechCentral,
Freshmen lawmakers are not only eager to use the latest technologies to communicate with constituents — many of them come from tech and telecom backgrounds. Most used some type of new media tool on their campaign pages, and nearly half provided links to online blogs, according to a National Journal analysis. Almost half also linked to YouTube videos, followed by Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter and Blip.tv sites.
Thanks to the lifting of restrictive franking rules from online content, these new congressmen can start off their legislative career with a free hand to operate online.
It’s great to see so many lawmakers coming into their new jobs familiar with the variety of online communications sources available to them. I’m also very interested in seeing how these freshmen used online communications, rather than what they used. Were they engaged in conversations online, through blogs or Twitter? Did they blog openly at other online venues? What is their history of engagement online?
I think that the answers to these questions will better help to gauge how they will use online technologies and communications – and how transparent they will be about it – than simply recognizing that, as a class, they used technology more than previous incoming groups of freshmen.