The bulk of social media and Web 2.0 use in Congress and state legislatures has until now largely been composed of personal tweets and posts by legislators and staff, pushing communications out without engaging in true conversations with constituents. Innovation in this area has lagged the private sector.One Texas Senate committee is changing that. Charged by Chairman John Carona to “push the envelope so hard it’s no longer stationery,” the Business and Commerce Committee is moving out with social media. They began by examining the legislative process and identifying each point where lobbyists and advocates have special access to information or legislators, then looked for technologies that would level the playing field, open the process to the public, or help generate consensus. As a testbed, the committee is currently tackling a tough issue –payday lending – and they’ll tell you what they’re doing, what’s worked and where they think Gov2.0 is going.
9th–13th March 2012