July 11, 2008
Hopefully the last thing to say about the Twitter battle

Speaker Pelosi speaks about the great Congressional Twitter battle. I'm going to quote her entire letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner, because it's worth reading.

Dear Leader Boehner:

Thank you for your letter on the recommendations by Franking Chair Capuano to the Committee on House Administration regarding posting web video external to the House.gov domain. We share the goal of modernizing the antiquated franking regulations to address the rapidly changing realities of communications in the internet age. Like many other Members, I have a blog, use YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Digg, and other new media to communicate with constituents, and I believe they are vital tools toward increasing transparency and accountability.

Mr. Capuano's initial recommendations are an effort to establish standards that permit Members to publish web videos on external web sites, a broadening of the rules that currently prohibit posting videos on external sites. I can assure you that it is not the intention, nor will it be the result, of the final regulations to stifle, censor, or deprive Members of communicating effectively and in real-time with their constituents. I am confident that the Committee on House Administration will develop these final rules on a bipartisan basis, recognizing that we have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used for political or commercial purposes.

While I am delighted to see the attention of internet users and citizens toward our much needed movement to update the franking regulations, there has been a large amount of misinformation regarding these efforts. We all have a responsibility to ensure that Members and the public understand the need to prevent the misuse of public funds, while at the same time ensuring access to emerging online means of communication.

Unfortunately, inaccurate rumors have been circulated asserting that the suggested standards allowing for web video outside of the House.gov domain would affect Member blogging or use of sites such as Twitter. Dissemination of this false information does a disservice to the vital dialogue on using technology to increase citizen involvement, education, and transparency in the House.

Thank you again for your letter and your commitment to work on a bipartisan basis to develop standards that are agreeable to both Parties and most importantly, serve the public interest.

best regards,

Speaker of the House

You should also read that Shelbinator post, which contains yet another "no really! they're out to censor me!" comment from Culberson. One would hope that this would be the end of it, but as this fight was never about the facts, I wouldn't count on it. Link via techPresident.

And finally, on a lighter note, Scott Floyd imagines what a future Senate Tweet debate might look like:

Senator 1: @Senator2 We've got to consider the fact that schools are only able to handle so many unfunded mandates. At some point funding is required.

Senator 2: @Senator1 They've enough money already. Why give more when they just waste it? They buy all the best software, computers, etc. To what rslt?

Senator 1: @Senator2 You mean like the equipment in your office EACH of your staff members use EVERY day? Like the iPhone you are Twittering from?...

Senator 1: @Senator2 All of which is paid for by PUBLIC tax dollars with staff taught in PUBLIC schools to do the work for the PUBLIC?

Senator 3: @Senator2 Burn!

Senator 2: @Senator3 Shut-up! You're in my party. I'm blocking you!

It's funny 'cause it's true.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 11, 2008 to National news

Thanks for the mention. Glad to have a semi-political post of mine make the big leagues in Texas. Session is coming quickly, so maybe I can add a little more humor to the process. Lord knows we are going to need it if leadership doesn't change after November.

Now I just need to get Eltife, Merritt, and Hughes Twittering for me so I know what's going on by the minute.

Posted by: Scott S. Floyd on July 12, 2008 9:45 PM
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