Congress

Ocasio-Cortez, Himes to teach Democrats how to up their Twitter game

Party will have to grapple with whether her followers came from AOC’s facility with the platform or her ideas

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will coach her fellow Democrats on how to do Twitter well. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has swiftly become the most popular member of Congress on Twitter, will teach a class Thursday morning hosted by House Democrats’ messaging arm on how to make better use of the site.

The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee tapped  Ocasio-Cortez and Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes to coach the Democratic caucus “on the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling,” USA Today reported.

Ocasio-Cortez confirmed the news on Twitter.

“Perks of being in the Democratic Caucus: I will be teaching a Twitter class tomorrow morning open to all members,” she wrote.

The House Administration Committee and representatives from Twitter will also attend, the paper reported.

Watch: Ocasio-Cortez decries shutdown as ‘erosion of American democracy’ in first floor speech

A Twitter spokesperson said representatives will discuss resources and be available for questions from members and staff and said they have offered to do similar events with House Republicans and the Senate Republican Conference as they have in the past.

Just weeks into her term, the 29-year-old congresswoman has gained 2.4 million followers, eclipsing Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 2 million followers.

But the party will have to grapple with whether the New York Democrat’s surge in Twitter followers grew out of her facility with the platform or the force of her ideas.

In 2017, the committee branded House Democrats around the slogan “A Better Deal” — a slate of policy ideas including pushing for greater antitrust enforcement in the pharmaceutical industry and encouraging job growth through strategic tax and trade policies and vocational training.

But the 14th District Democrat endorses a bolder platform — including a Medicare for All health care system with a formulary to extract lower prices on medicines and a federal jobs guarantee.

Those ideas poll well and have earned Ocasio-Cortez tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

“A few social media ideas for public servants looking to build an audience,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted earlier this month, and recommended that her Democratic colleagues endorse Medicare for All and other progressive policies. 

At nearly 80,000 followers, 52-year-old Himes has not quite captured the same audience as his freshman colleague. 

But like Ocasio-Cortez, Himes writes his own tweets. The 4th District Democrat logs off after he has had more than two beers, though — a policy imposed by his staff after he posted a haiku inspired by the Metro North train, the congressman told USA Today.

Watch: New members provide backstage pass to orientation with social media

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