Social Networking and Constituent Communications: Members' Use of Twitter and Facebook During a Two-Month Period in the 112th Congress [March 22, 2013] [open pdf - 347KB]
"Communication between Members of Congress and their constituents has changed with the development of new online social networking services. Many Members now use e-mail, official websites, blogs, YouTube channels, Twitter, and Facebook pages to communicate with their constituents--technologies that were either non-existent or not widely available 20 years ago. Social networking services have arguably served to enhance the ability of Members of Congress to fulfill their representational duties by providing greater opportunities for communication between the Member and individual constituents. In addition, electronic communication technology has reduced the marginal cost of constituent communications; unlike postal letters, Members can reach large numbers of constituents for a fixed cost. This report examines Member adoption and use of two social networking services: Twitter and Facebook. The report analyzes data on Member use of Twitter and Facebook collected by an academic institution in collaboration with the Congressional Research Service during a two-month period between August and October 2011 and the adoption of both platforms as of January 2012."
CRS Report for Congress, R43018