Republicans have been wringing their hands over how to catch up with Democrats on the technological front.
But at least on the Hill, Republicans appear to be more readily adopting to the new modes of communication.
While congressional Democrats have greatly upped their usage of social media to communicate with constituents in the past few years, Republicans continue to enjoy a formidable lead, according to a recent study by the Congressional Research Service, as highlighted the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News.
For example, in September 2009, only 38 percent of senators and House members had Twitter accounts. By January 2012, that percentage more than doubled, to 78.7 percent. Slightly more than 87.2 percent were on Facebook.
“In 2009, 60 percent of Twitter-registered members were Republican and 40 percent were Democrats,” the study said. By 2012, the lead had narrowed a bit — to a still-substantial 56 percent to 44 percent.
But it’s not as if congressional folks are posting and tweeting very much. House and Senate Republicans averaged 1.28 tweets a day and .73 posts, the March 22 report found. Democrats had 1.18 tweets and .49 posts a day.
Other studies show lawmakers tend to use social media to link to news releases, local appearances and events or to talk about themselves. A 2009 University of Maryland study cited a fine tweet from former Democratic House member and now Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie: “I just completed weightlifting workout at the Nuuanu Y.”
Not a lot of interaction, it appears.