The D.C. in Washington might as well stand for Digital Community because it seems like the whole town is as tech savvy as can be. Congresspeople (even the older set) tweet photos and town hall meetings (often more frequently than Kim Kardashian.) The President and Mrs Obama post videos from the White House on an almost daily basis. And with the recent that rumor that former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs might be going to work for Facebook, why not drop that whole District of Columbia part.
Because there are a few folks in the capitol lagging on the digital front. And Ms Nydia Velazquez, you are definitely one of them!
So, in order to help you, Ms Velazquez, spread the word to your constituents of district 12 (of which I am one) who are definitely online, I’ve laid out a 5 point plan.
1) Update your website more often, for both press releases and multi-media. A new press releases for your site is loaded between 5 to 8 business days, which would be fine if you weren’t such a busy and active member of the house and therefore making important speeches almost daily. And the “multimedia” component of the website needs a lot of TLC, considering the most recent video comes from Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing – August 2009!- and the photos are equally ancient (in new media terms, at least).
2) Get a twitter account and use it! Even this older looking Congressman from West Virginia shouts out legislation, his daily happenings, and even his birthday (which he shares with you – March 28th Happy Bday Nydia and David McKinley, though I wouldn’t have known it had he not tweeted it and then it been re-tweeted).
I know that McKinley’s twitter followers are few, the info is there for them, and so he doesn’t have to update his website (see suggestion number 1).
3) Great work on having a bilingual website, I’ll say that much. But, when you do post in English, make sure to check for spelling errors. (In a press release from March 17, the Congresswoman’s most recent, she said: “As the world’s greatest democracy, what kid (sic) of message does this war send to other nations? Do as we say, not as we do?”)
Nothing says low budget internet presence like spelling errars.
4) Nydia, it’s time to look into a better way to have your constiuents visit D.C. I’ve looked around, and this whole “visit the Capitol/or White House” section is on all Congresspeople’s websites. But, to visit any other Congressperson, all one must do is fill out the online form. On your website, a constituent must either email Jessica Garcia, or fax in a request. For one, Jessica Garcia is no longer the person to email, says the woman who answers your DC phone (Hi Gizeela!And for two, no one uses faxes anymore. Like at all. And while this this may seem picky because you only receive like a few requests a month, says Gizeela, that might in fact be the reason you only receive a few requests a month (though, I was informed we are coming up on the busy season and if I want to visit, the tours are first-come, first serve so I need to jump on it.)
5) Hire an assistant communications director to help the current and only one, Alex Huarek. I say this because you ma’am are doing so much good work, and the 3 times I have called Mr Huarek to better understand how or why you are doing whatever you are doing (or 2 times I have emailed him) he hasn’t had the time to answer or get back. Maybe that’s because he is both your communications director and small biz committee communications director. Either way, it’s discouraging to keep leaving messages on an answering machine that never delivers.