According to social media statistic website Socialbakers.com, there are nearly 6 million Facebook users in Pennsylvania. That translates into about 47 percent of the state’s population on this social site. Add to that the fact that the average user spends 700 minutes each month on Facebook, it’s clear Facebook and other social media offer a huge opportunity for elected officials to communicate with voters. Members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate are seizing this opportunity and engaging with their constituents on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. As more and more legislative staffers and their bosses learn to use social media, we can expect to see important stories break on Facebook and Twitter.
For example, state Sen. Dominic Pileggi recently announced on his Facebook page that he was considering joining the U.S. Senate race. (He later announced his intention not to run on his Facebook page, too.) While Pileggi does not allow Facebook users to post directly to his wall, he does allow comments from fans and members of the public. The senator and his staff do a reasonable job of responding to questions on the Facebook wall, which is to be applauded.
Another state senator with an active Facebook presence is Sen. Andy Dinniman. Sen. Dinniman posts frequently to his Facebook wall, sharing interesting links and photos from events around his district. Like Pileggi, Dinniman does not allow users to post on his wall, but he does allow comments. The senator’s support for animal welfare issues is apparent in the pages he has “liked,” including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Chester County SPCA.
Many members of the state House are also active on Facebook, and they regularly share updates on government programs and constituent services, as well as district events. In addition, many state representatives allow users to post directly to their Facebook wall, so you are able to share your thoughts with them on any issue you find pertinent.
If you are on Facebook and your state senator and/or representative has a fan page, Facebook can be an excellent way to stay in touch with your legislators and even provide your opinions on the issues of the day. In contrast to a letter, phone call or email, a Facebook wall post is a public statement to an elected official, and it shares your opinions with not just the legislator, but your friends and family, as well.
Twitter has been another way for state legislators to keep their constituents informed. Many members of the General Assembly Tweet from the Senate and House floors, providing ses
r users than Facebook, political junkies should not neglect this social network if they want to know what Pennsylvania legislators are working on and thinking about from day to day.
sion updates in real time. In particular, state Rep. Stephen Bloom (@RepBloom), Rep. Gordon Denlinger (@RepGordon), Rep. Eugene DePasquale (@RepDePasquale) and Rep. Tony Payton (@TonyPaytonJr) use this social media site effectively by mixing legislative news with personal tidbits that make these officials seem approachable and authentic.
While Twitter has fewe
Want to know if your legislators are on Facebook or Twitter? Find your representatives using our zip code lookup tool, and here’s a list of Pennsylvania state senators who are on social media:
Another resource for finding state officials on Facebook or Twitter is DCI’s Digital America project. Don’t forget Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Have you ever reached out to an elected official on social media? How did he or she respond? Let us know in the comments! And if you haven’t “liked” APSCUF on Facebook yet, please do so today!
UPDATE: Just learned state Sen. Bob Mensch has a new Facebook fan page. If you’re a resident of the 24th Senate District, check him out here: http://www.facebook.com/bobmensch24thdistrict.
LATE UPDATE: The House Republican caucus lists all of their members with links to their social media profiles here: http://www.pahousegop.com/directory.aspx.