How Twitter Bridges Gap Between Inside & Outside the Beltway

Twitter is the place where President Barack Obama announced his reelection bid and whereRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney named his running mate Paul Ryan.

But it’s also the place where Washington is engaging with the general public, according to an article in the National Journal.

National Journal Washington correspondent Matthew Cooper, himself an avid and engaging Twitter user (@mattizcoop), profiles “average Tweeters” from outside the beltway who infiltrated the Washington “elite,” in his latest piece, “How Twitter is Revolutionizing Washington Relationships.”

He profiles two, outside the beltway Twitter users, @DukeStJournal and @Abba_KS, who tweeted creatively and engagingly about the financial crisis.  They soon garnered the attention of several high-profile pundits and DC journalists, including former George W. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto and Yahoo!News’ Olivier Knox.

Soon, journos and the Tweeters in question (who remain anonymous and lived in separate states) started visiting one another on business trips.  @DukeStJournal and @Abba_KS even started direct messaging and the rest is history. There’s a wedding this fall in Atlanta between the tweeting couple, and you can guess who’s invited.

It’s a sweet tale about how an engaging and authentic Twitter presence ultimate draws people in, including even the most cynical DC types.  Gone is the Gang of 500, the old Washington hands who created the conventional wisdom.

Cooper shares with SocialTimes his philosophy on Twitter:

“I think the important thing with Twitter is to share more of yourself. If you’re just putting out links to articles you’ve written or something you’re selling, it’s ignorable. If you’re interesting and sharing your enthusiasms and obsessions, well, people seem to gravitate to that.”

Twitter is also revolutionizing how Washington does business.  For example, the National Journal Daily recently posted a video interview profiling the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its use of “new techniques” to tackle old issues.

The committee will be addressing a series of spending bills that affect how many Americans travel, including an Amtrak funding bill, so Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) wants to ensure  that the “whole concept of transportation is not inside the beltway.”  That might mean conducting Twitter Q & A’s with the public as well as crowdsourcing specific pieces of legislation.

Jim Billmoria, communications director for the committee, shares the chairman’s vision for using Twitter to open a broader dialogue on transportation policy:

“The goal of the Committee is to show that there’s an increasing intersection between technology and transportation.  Twitter gives Chairman Shuster and our committee members an opportunity to explain transportation to audiences beyond the beltway through interaction with everyday Americans, government officials, and  various stakeholders.”

“As we continue to build the Committee’s presence on Twitter, and its overall digital brand, we’ll aim to increase one-on-one interactions for people with the Chairman and committee members to explain and discuss pieces of legislation, lay out the goals of what we’re trying to achieve and seek input from those within the @Transport Twitter community.”

“This may take the form of Twitter townhalls, soliciting questions form the @Transport community to be asked during a hearing,  or interacting with stakeholders on Twitter while we take questions from our followers.”

 

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