IIn the age of YouTube attack ads and tweets taking aim at the political opposition, online activity among Members of Congress is often taken for granted.
But with dated technological infrastructure and inflexible rules governing Member websites and social media, some Congress-watchers argue that lawmakers use technology to fuel partisan controversy more than to put expertise to use with the ultimate goal of more informed policymaking.
Lorelei Kelly, a research fellow with the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, said a “noise problem” has resulted from a hesitancy to truly engage constituents and policy experts, making it difficult to go “deeper than predictions and post-mortems.”
“If you look at Congress as your grandparent from another era, they can’t hear what we want them to hear,” Kelly said at a New America panel discussion today. “It’s the first branch of government, and it must be the most technologically savvy. It’s the closest to the people.”