Twitter Hashtags for State Government

I am sure this has been said before, I am just going to say it again and pretend it was my brilliant idea.

It is incredibly difficult to track conversations on specific legislation in Twitter, (particularly on the state level) so here is my proposed hashtag protocol.

When speaking about legislation please include the state abbreviation + bill number.

For Example:

Illinois Senate Bill 1313 would look like: #ILSB1313

Arizona House Resolution 2006 would look like: #AZHCR2006

If political offices and the press started using this standard, the general public and advocacy groups would catch on – the end result would be searchable hashtags that would allow politicians and the public to follow the conversation on Twitter more efficiently.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Corey McCarren

Awesome idea! It would definitely be great to be able to track conversation on social media about state legislation like that. A standard naming convention could also encourage discussion about issues.

Jeffrey F Clark

That looks like a good start Kyle. This post you started could be used to refine and expand the legislation short-naming convention.

Your method would stay the same for the current year’s referenced bills, but if one refers to previous year’s bills, where would the year go? if it was on the end, it’d be #ILSB1313-2011 (or #ilsb1313-Y2011)

But how would you propose the amendments be referenced? #ilsb1313-A2

for county bills, have all the states come up with 3-char abbreviations for their counties?

It could be the same for US Congress bills – #USSB1234-a14 (amendment 14 US Senate Bill 1234)

Kyle Hillman

Since twitter doesn’t store tweets beyond what a normal general session lasts, I wouldn’t think you would need the year marker added. Although you could easily follow your -2011 idea if the poster felt a new conversation would be warranted on an old bill.

My experience has been, once the session is over (and bill numbers start again) the conversations on previous session bills that never were passed are non existent. In IL we number our assembly’s (currently on 97th) you could use that … While a few characters shorter, I think the year after the bill is easier for people to quickly understand. (again this would only be needed for legislation prior to the current session)

I kind of feel like amendments shouldn’t be listed, the goal is to be able to track the bills conversation and by breaking it off my amendments, the reader (or staffer) would get a small segment rather than a full bill discourse. For example I would likely say, ” support Amendment 2 on #ILSB1313″ – that way I am still identifying the amendment but the tweet is searchable by it’s uniform bill number.

I have zero ideas for counties, There is just no logical way to abbreviate, state counties…especially since there are multiple counties in different states with the same name. You would have to do #ILCookORD1234 and that starts getting way to long to expect a conversation to follow.

I agree about US, (ie #USSB6200) – however federal bills often have sexier names like #patriotact or #hcr which is why I have less of a problem following them.

Samuel Lovett

This is a great idea in theory. The 140 character limit makes this difficult in some cases though. I asked a twitter savvy digital reporter if he had ever seen this format used, and he agreed that it’s difficult to remember to use hash tags most of the time.

Kyle Hillman

Maybe so, in Illinois we use hashtags a lot. They also tend to put in bill numbers…so for us it would be easy to add the state abreviation and hash mark.

On a side note, your friend is missing audience members by omitting hashtags.

Samuel Lovett

You’re right, I don’t know why he chooses to skip hashtags altogether.

Anyways, you’re fortunate to work in a twitter savvy place; it’s public discourse at it’s best and broadest. Your attempt to standardize use of bill numbers in tweets is a good community service if everyone’s using them already.

Meagan Dorsch

Neat idea! Formality isn’t always a bad thing! I can tell you from experience that it has been difficult just trying to identify state legislators on Twitter, because everyone set up their accounts differently. Having some common language or best practices is an idea worth pondering. Thanks for having us think about new ways to increase representative democracy within these social sites.