While making phone calls and writing letters definitely carries more weight with Congressional staff, engaging your legislator on social media can be another effective way to make a case for supporting your issue, especially if you’re thoughtful about the way you use it. Take a look at the following list of advantages and disadvantages of using social media to help you identify when and how you might use social media to connect with and educate your Members of Congress.
Advantages of Using Social Media
Happens in real time. You can respond to recent events and connect them to your issue, raising awareness and feeding off media coverage!
Spark a dialogue. Other constituents and the general public can like, retweet, or comment on your post, giving your issue more visibility and the opportunity to connect with new advocates.
If you coordinate with others, your one post about an issue can be amplified into many posts, attracting the attention of local media, the public, and ultimately your legislator.
Because social media happens in the public eye, thanking your legislator will reinforce their behavior by turning them into a champion - you’re more likely to get a response or retweet from your legislator if it’s a positive message.
On the other hand, if your legislator is not supporting your issue, calling them to action on social media can spark public outrage and interest in your issue, causing them to reconsider their actions.
You can use hashtags and coordinated Twitter chats to organize and promote your cause with other organizations and advocates for your issue.
Disadvantages of Using Social Media
Just one social media post amid many is easy to ignore - you’ll have more of an impact if you can coordinate many people interacting on social media.
It’s nearly impossible to tell whether you are an actual constituent, so legislators have less reason to care what you think.
While your legislator may post their press releases and other information on social media, they may not actively respond to or even check for constituent’s comments. Try to get a feel for the efficacy of using social media by seeing if they have engaged with constituents in the past on social media.
Twitter Handles for the MN Congressional Delegation
Rep. Collin Peterson does not have a Twitter