I complained yesterday about Congress on the web, and took a little heat on global warming.
After my segment yesterday, in which I called out Congress and the Senate for their overall pathetic showing on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, I got a call from Jeff Sharp, a Senior Communications Adviser for Rep. Ed Markey. I had mentioned Markey specifically – saying that as a senior Democrat on the House Committee that oversees internet issues – he could be farther ahead of the curve on Congress 2.0.
His message (and I’m paraphrasing) – “What about the Congressman’s award-winning global warming site?”
And you know, he was kind of right. While the House Committee on Commerce and Energy’s site is weak, and inexplicably, the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is even worse, Markey’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has a lot to offer. There are interactive graphics, lots of information, links to a calculator to measure your carbon footprint, and much more.
You know what? It’s a good site, slickly produced, and I tip my hat.
And Sharp also politely reminded me of Markey’s other efforts – taking video questions from constituents and using them, creating an Avatar in Second Life and even using it for an event in Bali. That puts him at the head of his Congressional class. But Congress as a whole is still way behind where they need to be to engage their constituents.
Sharp acknowledges that with the ban on outside web presences for members removed only four months ago, there’s not much change to be seen. But he says that Markey’s office is working on a system for comments from users on YouTube and his other sites, and says Rep. Markey WILL be on Twitter soon.
He even graciously accepted my offer of the Twitter name RepMarkey.
Congress still needs a social media strategy – or at least a way to manage comments? – and Markey is in a position to keep pushing that effort forward. But I have to give the man from Malden his due.
So having rattled on about the Democrats, a tip of the hat to some members of the GOP, too. Some web-savvy Republicans are building a grassroots effort on the social networking platform Ning. Rebuildtheparty.com is dedicated to recognizing that Republicans need to take a page from the Democrats playbook if they want to see a little more red in their future. It’s worth a look, too.
And they are living a little of what they preach – fiscal conservatism.
Ning is free.