Social Networking and Constituent Communications: Member Use of Twitter During a Two-Month Period in the 111th Congress [February 3, 2010] [open pdf - 201KB]
"This report examines Member use of one specific new electronic communication medium: Twitter. After providing an overview and background of Twitter, the report analyzes patterns of Member use of Twitter during August and September 2009. This report is inherently a snapshot in time of a dynamic process. As with any new technology, the number of Members using Twitter and the patterns of use may change rapidly in short periods of time. Thus, the conclusions drawn from this data can not be easily generalized nor can these results be used to predict future behavior. The data show that 205 Representatives and Senators are registered with Twitter (as of September 30, 2009) and issued a total of 7,078 'tweets' during the data collection period of August and September 2009. With approximately 38% of House Members and 39% of Senators registered with Twitter, Members sent an average of 116 tweets per day collectively. Members' use of Twitter can be divided into eight categories: position taking, policy, district or state activities, official congressional action, personal, media, campaign activities, and other. The data suggest that the most frequent type of tweets were district or state tweets (24%), followed by policy tweets (23%), media tweets (14%), and position-taking tweets (14%)."
CRS Report for Congress, R41066
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/