How Do We Get More People to Interact with Their Representatives? Social Media and the Future of Democracy: Part Four

By Andrew Foxwell, Director of Marketing / New Media

In the last installation of this four-part series, I’d like to cover the final — and pressing — question we face. As modes of communications change, let’s look at how we can use available technology toward our ultimate goal: increasing communications, which ultimately promotes our democracy.

Increasing the Quantity of Impact

Currently, as an aggigate, Congress has a rate of 10% of constituents communicating with their Representatives. This is a dishearteningly low statistic, in my opinion. At the Brookings Institute, I asked the question: How can we boost this number?

A panelist made the point that we can start measuring things differently, when possible. And another panelist used an example of imagining that you see an opinion online from a friend. It may affect you on some level, however you might not even realize it until a later conversation. The impact of that opinion cannot be quantified. So perhaps what we need to ask is not: How can we reach certain numbers? Maybe the question has changed to: What can we do to get people to take action?

I think social networks are the key to unlocking this door. And I think the future is mobile. Mobile is exploding, and so are social networks. If an extremely easy way to interact with your Representative via a mobile device existed, this could surely change communication as we know it. These are just a few ideas…

We want to know: What do you see for the future of mobile and social networks?

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Carol Davison

I’m fine with the more humble, emotionally healthy, intelligent, responsible, and wise contacting them. What do we do about the others?