What We're Thinking

January 24, 2019

Jeffrey H. Birnbaum

President
BGR Public Relations

How lawmakers can translate growing digital proficiency into good governance

Originally published in The Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

How lawmakers can translate growing digital proficiency into good governance

The average age of a freshman member of the House of Representatives is mid-40s, roughly 10 years younger than the rest of the chamber. This increasingly Generation-X People’s House will surely work differently than in previous Congresses, especially when it comes to digital communications.

Gen-Xers, born in the mid-1960s to early 1980s, grew up with video games, saw the birth of personal computers and were the first to embrace social media. In politics, Xers pioneered digital and social-media election campaigns and continue to find ways to connect with constituents through the Internet.

As a result, voters hold greater influence in Washington because their digital voices are being heard more often and more loudly than ever. What’s more, lawmakers who built their Instagram and Facebook followings now have ready-made focus groups to test constituents’ views on a wide range of issues.

The challenge for lawmakers is to translate their growing digital proficiency into effective governance. One impediment is the congressional budget. Constituent communication has continued to grow, but staff resources have not. Lawmakers too often rely on legacy systems meant to deal with postal mail to manage the millions of digital messages they receive each year. The result is that many constituents are neglected because lawmakers’ offices don’t have the time to…

Read the full article: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jan/13/how-lawmakers-can-translate-growing-digital-profic/

Tagged: Digital Profiency,

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