Study Finds Congress Is Paying More Attention to Social Media

A new study shows Congress is paying more attention to responses on social media. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It turns out Congress cares what you say on Twitter.  

A new report released this week from the Congressional Management Foundation finds members of Congress are more engaged in social media than in previous years and are far more responsive to constituent concerns that come in via various social media platforms.  

Farenthold Case Prompts Talk About Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill

Cloakroom buzzed about sexual harassment as the House Ethics Committee announced its next step on Farenthold's case. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

"What do you do if you're being sexually harassed in your office?" one user asked Monday morning on the anonymous Capitol Hill social-networking app Cloakroom.  

It prompted one person, identifying himself as a 26-year-old male working for a 40-year-old female chief of staff, to share his own situation.  

Social Media Rules on Capitol Hill: What Not To Do

Schock. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


Benjamin Cole, spokesperson for Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., has resigned after his racially charged Facebook comments surfaced on the ThinkProgress website. From Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill :

In the screenshots highlighted by TP Senior Investigative Reporter Josh Israel, the 38-year-old senior adviser for policy and communications … categorizes a pair of African Americans outside his window as “animals,” advocates for speedier gentrification efforts, nonchalantly describes a neighborhood incident (“one of the hood rats on my street just got shot by another hood rat,” he scribbled online) and vents about an altercation he had on the street. “You white people need to learn,” Cole said a black woman chided him after the two bumped into one another while walking.
Cole is not the first flack to meet an untimely job ending after social media comments went awry. A similar flare-up recently cost Elizabeth Lauten her job as communications director for Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher after her disparaging comments on the first daughters and their clothing went viral.  

The Best News Sources for Staffers to Read

Be sure to read the day's news before your boss does. Hill Navigator discusses. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Are you reading this while at your desk? On your smartphone on the Metro? Maybe you get Hill Navigator delivered directly to your inbox. But how do you know if you’re reading the best news sources to do your job effectively? Hill Navigator discusses.

Q. Every morning I start checking my phone for news alerts and daily clips. When I get into the office I'm still sorting through news clips from my boss's committees, our office press team, and trade groups, on top of the various Beltway news outlets. I know Roll Call is the best source for all news, but I sometimes question how much news I really need to do my legislative job. As I prepare for a new Congress and a new year, what are some tips to get my media consumption under control?
A. You’re asking a journalist if there is a limit to the media consumption? Never, media consumption is limitless! (Especially print, print media forever! But I digress )  

You’re wise to start thinking about your news sources. Your inbox only has so much space, and you don’t want to spend your entire morning combing through news clips. So here are several ways to target your media consumption so you’re keeping up with your boss, doing your job and staying on top of the ever-changing news landscape.  

All Work? Congress Averaging 70-Hour Work Week

Long day at work? A new report finds Members of Congress work 70-hour weeks. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Who are some of the hardest working men and women in Washington, D.C.? Congress, apparently. Members of Congress work an average of 70 hours per week when in session and nearly 60 hours per week for district work periods, with approximately 13 meetings a day, according to a report by the Business-Industry Political Action Committee and the Congressional Management Foundation. Congress gets knocked for its work practices constantly — and the 113th is on track to be one of the least productive congresses — but members are busy with active schedules.  

"Perceptions of Congress inside the Beltway are significantly different because we all know people who work on Capitol Hill, and  the work that is involved with that," said Bo Harmon, BIPAC's senior vice president for political affairs. "People outside of Washington don’t always have that direct relationship with Capitol Hill. Perceptions are very different."  

Spin is Overrated: Crisis Communications for Members of Congress

Ever wonder how "spin doctors" in the public affairs world really accomplish their feats? According to crisis communicator and former White House staffer Eric Dezenhall, promises of "spin" are overrated. His new book "Glass Jaw" (Hatchette Books, 2014) explores the "instant scandals" that can affect anyone and anything: from corporations to members of Congress to average joes.  

Dezenhall shared his words of wisdom with Roll Call's Hill Navigator on how members of Congress (and staff) can better protect their reputations. A lightly-edited transcript follows.  

Survey: LinkedIn Lacks Appeal for Hill Staffers

Hill staffers value social media, but are taking a pass on the business-networking site LinkedIn. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill offices may vary on their Facebook and Twitter interactions, but they agree on one thing: opting out of LinkedIn. The business-oriented social networking site was recently rated as least important by congressional staff in establishing their member of Congress as a thought leader.  

"It makes sense, offices are looking for mediums to communicate with constituents, like Facebook or Instagram," said Jennifer Curley, a former hill staffer and president and CEO of the Curley Company, Inc., which commissioned the survey.