This issue with Representative Nelson has brought up another issue.
I believe it is great when the legislators interact with the public, unfiltered by the media.
How much should legislators be commenting on blogs and posting to facebook?
Last summer when the initial issue of Representative Nelson and the LRC and house Leadership came to light, many people commented on the topic, including current members of the executive board, current and past legislators, and many others. Other than a few weird tangents, it was a good discussion. Representatives Hubble and Hickey will post to their facebook page opinions about legislation or events that take place during the session.
How much is too much?
It wasn’t too long ago, they only time we heard from our legislators is during the election cycle. They would walk the parade route, shake hands, ask for votes, then poof, they’re gone. Two years later you see them again. Letters went unanswered, voice messages were forwarded to the big answering machine in the sky.
Now we have E-mail, IM, tweeter, facebook, text messaging the list goes on.
Some legislators have embraced this new technology to reach out and connect with the public, there are some who still hide from it.
Representative Nelson frequently comments on this blog as well as several others. His comments are very detailed and normally has some kind of documentation to back up his opinions. This makes his posts somewhat tedious to read, however they are complete. Recently, his posts have been less about public policy, and more about this little spat between the leadership and himself. Four years ago, Obama used social media to rally support.
The danger here is we only get one side of the story or partial information. Getting the entire story can be more like pulling hen’s teeth at times.
Another danger is getting legislators to tone down the postings. When one is as passionate about a topic, we can expect passionate, over-zealous statements.
Should legislators use Social Media to voice their opinion?