Saturday, February 7, 2009

Twitter trumps Facebook, MySpace in Maryland Legislature

Several days ago, I started following Todd Schuler on twitter, or toddlschuler as he's now known. He's the first Maryland State Legislator I've found there, and still the only one I'm aware of. There may be more, so let me know if you find any. As he represents the next district over from mine, I can't quite call him one of my elected officials. However, he had under 2 dozen followers when I found him online, meaning my voice was one of the very few live voters. And he certainly works with the delegates from my district, making this more than a random social contact.

I thought he could use more followers, so I posted:

Maryland State legislator @toddlschuler has only 25 twitter followers. C'mon people, he's one of your elected officials. Pay attention. 6:21 PM Feb 5th from web

One of my followers (in another state entirely) replied:

LatterDay_Scout: @jspath55 not my state, but I'll follow to help out. Is he dem or rep?

@LatterDay_Scout BTW, @toddlschuler is in the next legislative district over from us, so not direct connect. I think it is cool he tweets. 8:45 PM Feb 5th from web in reply to LatterDay_Scout

The reference link I sent:

"MSA" is the Maryland State Archives, the official record keepers, so I'd assume anything stored on their site is subject to Freedom Of Information rules. More on State information systems, or as Dilbert calls this trend "preventers of information services", below.

Todd posted yesterday afternoon (Friday, February 6, 2008):

"Facebook has been banned on General Assembly computers. Twitter is now the only real time source of Annapolis news."

Several followers replied or re-tweeted shortly thereafter

keithwalmsley: @toddlschuler Delegate- something must be done - its a legitimate avenue for dels and constituents to reach each other!

bcoyle73: @toddlschuler That is bogus banning Facebook. Will that mean Twitter could be next?

jspath55: RT @toddlschuler Facebook has been banned on General Assembly computers. Twitter is now the only real time source of Annapolis news.

JaneSFarrell: @toddlschuler Good story last night on WUSA9 about the MD Gen Asmbly ban on facebook/myspace.

This morning, my Baltimore Sun print edition had the story; likewise the Sun online:,0,1339786.story

What the Sun omits is the Twitter aspect of this - the Facebook/MySpace ban started yesterday morning, and I found out about it on twitter that afternoon, before the local TV news (Early or Late), and before the papers.

The focus of the stories, as is typical from most local news spins, is the dangers of viruses, security breaches, the usual "if it bleeds it leads" nonsense. No excuse for preventing constituent communications to say you aren't on top of your information technology.

Not sure how this will turn out, but Todd is now up to 30 followers.

Related links:

Keep up the democratic process, thanks.

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