July 18, 2015
In The News

By NATALIE ANDREWS 

A front page article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal looks at how House Republicans are using animated GIFs in communications. The move is part of an effort led by Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) known as GOP Labs, which trains Republican lawmakers and staff on a range of digital skills, from Google hangouts to Photoshop. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have their own digital operation, known as “Digital Dems.”

As political communications has shifted from mail to memes, we asked House members for their best tips for communicating with constituents on social media.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.): Connect with constituents.

“Generate quality, original content that connects Americans to the issues that directly impact their lives. Be creative. Be thoughtful. Be authentic.”

Ms. Pelosi points to her selfie with the women of the Supreme Court during a Women’s History Month event as a creative moment. The tweet was retweeted more than 1,000 times.

 

Find Ms. Pelosi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.): Make social media a priority.

“… Social media is no longer a neat side project or an optional tool to be offloaded on the one unpaid intern who knows how to turn on a computer. It is an essential tool for communicating. and doing it well means an office culture in which everybody on staff buys into its importance and treats it as a priority.”

Find Mr. Issa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.): Show the personal side.

“I believe in transparency. It’s important for my constituents to know how I’m voting or legislation I’m introducing on their behalf, but just as important are the moments with my kids, neighbors, or a local school group. Connecting with them on that personal level helps us to develop a relationship – and a trust – that I think is absolutely imperative to this job.”

Find Mr. Duffy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.): Keep it short.

“Be candid, use humor, be yourself, and always be brief. To sum it up, use #nofilter.”

Mr. Swalwell  – who posts on his House website how many miles he travels – has sparked a meme known as #Swalwelling. After he routinely posted pictures of his feet boarding and exiting flights while traveling to and from his district in California, other lawmakers and Capitol Hill staffers joined in, using the hashtag.


Find Mr. Swalwell on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Rep. Mimi Walters (R., Calif.): Use a selfie stick.

“I like to make my posts personal to give followers a behind-the-scenes look into my work and family life. I’ve become a big fan of selfies, and just recently started using a selfie stick to make pictures with big groups more engaging.”

Find Ms. Walters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Rep. Debbie Dingell (D. Mich.): Keep content real.

“Be real. Produce your own content. And learn how to take a flattering selfie.”

Find Ms. Dingell on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Rep. Will Hurd (R., Texas): Take people behind the scenes.

“Social media makes it easy to tell a visual story about the work I’m doing in Congress and the remarkable people I represent. My favorite pictures to use are the ones that give a ‘behind-the-scenes’ perspective, something constituents wouldn’t see otherwise.”

Find Mr. Hurd on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.): Be transparent.

“I believe that the key to effective use of digital tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is authenticity and engagement. As the youngest member of Congress, I take great pride in posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram myself. My supporters know they are engaging with me directly and the content is authentic and real!

“…I am also hopeful that these digital tools will help transform transparency in government, which is why I post every vote on Facebook!”

Ms. Stefanik is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She is 31 years old.  Find Ms. Stefanik on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.