I very much enjoy the ability to utilize new forms of communicationwith constituents. This is a unique time in history because these forms of communication are quickly evolving.
I was introduced to the idea of using Twitter by Edmond Senator Clark
Jolley who was probably the first Oklahoma legislator to make use of
the service. In the summer of 2008, I started using the service and
over the course of the past two years, I have observed and attempted
to apply what I believe to be a set of best practices.
I have determined that the main focus of my use of Twitter as an
elected official will be to provide resources to my constituents.
For example, I have found that one of the greatest strengths provided
by Twitter is that of an excellent real-time distribution network for
documents which would otherwise remain largely inaccessible to the
taxpayers. For instance, prior to a recent local school bond election,
I received an e-mail from a constituent. He wanted to know how his
local property taxes compared to other school districts in the state.
We requested the information from the Oklahoma Tax Commission and
subsequently posted a link to the document using Twitter and Google
documents (the document is available at ping.fm/W8V67).
As a result, voters were allowed instance access to data which is
probably not available anywhere else on the web (although it should
be). Because of Twitter, the link to the document was instantly
available to a wide purview and could be forwarded through e-mail and
other social media. The potential impact of the proposal on local
property taxes compared to the tax of surrounding districts had been
an issue of dispute up until that point, but with the publication of
this document the voters could see the exact impact of the proposal.
During the last session of the legislature, Twitter provided an avenue
for informing constituents of upcoming votes of interest in the House.
Voters can now observe the House debating bills online at okhouse.gov.
While it is true that an agenda is posted on the House website, the
actual debate and vote on a bill can occur at any time, or not occur
at all. Twitter allowed me to alert voters to issues of interest where
I was able to attach a link to the live broadcast of the debate.
I have also observed Twitter practices which I have determined to
avoid. The foremost practice which I have determined not to emulate is
that of using the network as a forum for launching partisan attacks. I
view the service as an excellent opportunity to share information that
will allow voters to make decisions on their own without
editorializing against or demonizing those who have a different point
of view. I have found that elected officials can appear especially
partisan when they are forced to make a statement in the 140
characters or less allowed by Twitter. It is my intent to use the
service as a positive venue and not as a political attack tool.
If you are interested in following my Twitter account, you may do so
State Representative Jason Murphey
Chairman Government Modernization Committee
State Capitol Building - Room #400B
2300 North Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
1(405) 557-7350 (Office)
1(405) 315-5064 (Cell)