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Changes to the 113th Congress Gold Mouse Awards

The Congressional Management Foundation has comprehensively evaluated congressional websites several times in an effort to improve Congress’s online communications with constituents. This year, we are changing our process and criteria slightly, as well as issuing our first-ever awards for social media.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #10: Diversity of Communications Channels

The 10th and final installment of our review of Gold Mouse criteria discusses the importance of communicating with constituents through multiple online channels. Users are increasingly expecting their online experiences to be interactive, and are expecting to access information on the platforms they are most comfortable with. Member websites should serve as a bridge to these different platforms and allow users to connect to the Member’s office in a variety of ways.

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The Benefits of Transparency and Accountability in Online Communications

The Internet continues to offer amazing opportunities for members of Congress and constituents to build relationships and communicate in a genuinely constructive way. When the Congressional Management Foundation surveyed congressional staff in 2010, 57 percent said email and the Internet have made members of Congress more “accountable” to their constituents — only 17 percent disagreed.

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#SocialMedia Cheat Sheet: Great Tips to Apply to Constituent Outreach

The 113th Congress looks as if it is quickly adapting to the changing world of social media. In fact, the vast majority of the newly elected Congress members (all but three, to be precise) have Twitter accounts. Read on to learn some useful tips on optimizing your communication through twitter.

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Interaction, Interconnectedness, and Interoperability: the Success of VYou on Constituent Communications

Whether serious (how will your state fare in the allocation of federal education dollars) or frivolous (is your Member of Congress a Yankees or a Mets fan), constituents are genuinely curious about the views of their elected officials. Unfortunately, the opportunity to pose these questions doesn’t often present itself.

Enter VYou, the online Q&A forum where online participants can conveniently upload questions to celebrities, experts and even their Members of Congress … if that Member has decided to participate, he or she can answer the questions posed by their constituents  in an audio-visual format.

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Learning the Lessons of Campaign 2012 and Applying Them to Your Advocacy Campaign

When it comes to technology and tactics, political campaigns are often the laboratories for advocacy campaigns. What was tested in November’s election is often translated into grassroots strategies after the Congress is sworn in. So what are those lessons and how can you apply them to YOUR advocacy campaign? That was the subject of the most recent 2012 Advocacy Leaders Network (ALN) workshop entitled “Learning the Lessons of Campaign 2012 and Transforming Them to an Advocacy World.”

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You’re Invited to the Final Advocacy Leaders Network Workshop September 21

The final of four workshops in the 2012 Advocacy Leaders Network (ALN) series will be held next Friday, September 21. The fourth workshop, “Learning the Lessons of Campaign 2012 and Transforming them to an Advocacy World,” will discuss how to apply campaign tactics to your advocacy efforts – all aimed at senior advocacy, government affairs, and public relations professionals. ALN is hosted by the Congressional Management Foundation, as part of its Partnership for a More Perfect Union, which seeks to enhance communications, understanding, and the relationship between citizens and Congress. It is sponsored by Beekeeper Group, Bloomberg Government, and Verizon.

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Social Media Requires New Metrics for Measuring Success

I'll admit it, I was a bit slow to "get" social media. Intellectually, I understood the viral and interconnected nature of the media. But I was schooled in mainstream media. When I started in radio we still spun records and spliced tape with a razor blade. I read the articles and heard the mantra: it's not simply the number of your followers that count on Twitter, but who is following you, and how much influence they have. This lesson hit home for me during a recent trip to San Francisco.

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CMF is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to helping Congress and its Members meet the evolving needs and expectations of an engaged and informed 21st century citizenry.

Our work focuses on improving congressional operations and enhancing citizen engagement through research, publications, training, and management services.

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