This week, we continue our focus on frequently asked questions.
Are Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media being widely used by politicians in Texas?
For those of you who have been hoping that the use of social media is a phase that you can avoid, you better learn the lingo and join the fray. Politicians across Texas, especially statewide officials and members of the Texas Legislature, have jumped on the bandwagon.
The tweeting in Texas picked up during the 81st Legislative Session in 2009. Governor Perry tweets as does Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Perry and Dewhurst are on Facebook as well. Some politicians choose to have campaign related pages as well as personal pages but most combine the two. Many state legislators have their Facebook pages set up to automatically accept friend requests so no potential voter feels left out.
State agencies have gotten into the act, using social media to provide information to the general public. Follow this link to Texas.gov to learn which agencies have a social media presence: http://www.texas.gov/en/Connect/Pages/social-media.aspx
During this interim, Lt. David Dewhurst charged the Senate State Affairs Committee with discussing how advances in technology and the emergence of various forms of social media have affected communications by and within governmental bodies. During a hearing on the issue on May 11th, senators heard from various groups and individuals who urged them to incorporate rules on the use of social media into the Texas Public Information Act.