By Marcia Newbert
PCM '10 (JMC Minor)
I began working at Edelman Public Relations shortly after graduation on the digital public affairs team. At Edelman, I manage a blogger engagement program, write Web content and develop digital strategies for a national energy trade association and other energy and international clients.
After authoring a blog post about politicians on Twitter, I proposed that Edelman study the Twitter behaviors of U.S. Members of Congress. I got the green light, pulled together a team and managed the project throughout the past six months. Released last week, “Capitol Tweets: Yeas and Nays of the Congressional Twitterverse” explores Twitter’s role in the democratization of political communication and identifies 10 Twitter best practices for U.S. Members of Congress.
The #CapTweets data set included 456 official Congressional Twitter handles and almost 60,000 tweets sent by Members of Congress. Some of my favorite findings are that 49 percent of Congress tweets across the virtual aisle to colleagues of another political party. Additionally, Democratic Members of Congress mention @YouTube and @MSNBC most often, while Republicans mention @WSJ and @FoxNews.
Capitol Tweets has gotten some great pickup in the past few days, including a Mashable post, a Roll Call piece and a live hit on CNN. It’s been incredibly humbling (and really, really fun) to see the study make its way through Twitter, Capitol Hill and the media.
I credit my SMPA experience – and my senior honors thesis in particular – for giving me the tools and confidence to undertake such a large analysis. The guidance I received from Professors Kimberly Gross, Jarol Manheim and Silvio Waisbord during my thesis was invaluable and has truly enabled me to think critically and tackle large projects piece by piece. Thanks, SMPA!