I’m not a one issue voter by any stretch of the imagination. But one issue that I’m most likely to actually speak up about is Network Neutrality. It’s one of a few issues that I could claim some amount of in-depth understanding about – and it’s one of the issues that I look for in any candidate for Congressional office (and it was one of two issues that first attracted me to the candidacy of President Obama – well before the Republicans completely lost any semblance of rational behavior and put Palin on their ticket and firmly nailed that coffin for my vote).
Richard Burr is one of the top recipients of telephone utility PAC money – and added his signature to a letter (PDF) (source: Cecilia Kang’s Washing Post column) on October 13th, 2009 to the FCC from GOP Senators expressing “fear” that the pro-Network Neutrality position that the FCC took in September 21, 2009 speech were “counterproductive and risk harming the great advancements in broadband speed and deployment that we have witnessed in recent years and will limit the freedom of the Internet.”
(p.s. Dear Senators – can you actually, you know, put your names in plain text on these letters? Some of you have absolutely unreadable signatures. To verify for myself that Burr signed the letter – I had to go through list of official statements and find another letter authored directly by Senator Burr and compare signatures.)
So, I think – it’s likely safe to say what position Senator Burr will take. It’s very definitely safe to say that I’m in opposition to Burr’s likely position.
So what about the Democrats? Well honestly, I have no idea.
Both Ken Lewis and Elaine Marshall have followed me in twitter – most likely because they are trying to follow folks in the region that follow President Obama’s twitter account – or some other NC Dem list of twitter accounts. Who knows. I seriously doubt they are going to get anything out of my twitter account that guides them to the thinking of their constituency.
But hey, the more the merrier, at least they aren’t following me because they think I front Owl City.
But I really wish that the campaigns would actually get a clue about Twitter and social media. When one of your constituents asks you a question in Twitter – say, I don’t know, Network Neutrality (p.s. Ken, your twitter “handle” was so much nicer, approachable and “human” when it was KennethWLewis).
Here’s the first clue: answer them back. It will take your campaign a few seconds. And I realize that your staff is pretty busy and probably already overwhelmed – but this is a substantive question – it’s a way to stake a position – or just engender goodwill. You don’t know me from Adam, maybe I’m a likely contributor, maybe I’m a likely volunteer. What I am – if I’m using the medium to ask you – is someone comfortable in it and most likely to echo and amplify your answers with others.
I’m not naive enough to believe you’ve actually developed a position on the matter. Your campaigns are likely just still developing your market and party tested sound bites on health care, immigration, national security, the economy. But you don’t need it. Here’s all you need: “@jasonadamyoung – thanks for the question – we’ve been focused on starting up our campaign so far – tell us what you think about it” You know what – you can use that, free of charge. Use a service like CoTweet to help spread the paste load among several of your staff.
Be human, answer questions, respond to folks. Don’t treat things like “Twitter” as a checkbox on your list to what a campaign needs – it’s not any different than having a ham biscuit on saturday morning in the country store in the myriad communities that make North Carolina great – have your ham biscuit with me and 1,000 other of your constituents in Twitter.
Either use or lose it folks – that’s your free “new media” advice of the day.