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Tallahassee Tweeting

April 9th, 2009 by flanews

State lawmakers are turning to new online networking sites to get their message out to voters. Twitter is the newest site giving lawmakers a platform straight from their laptops or blackberries. As Whitney Ray tell us, its becoming more common to see lawmakers staring at their cell phone screens while state laws are being discussed.

Just minutes after Representative Scott Plakon passed legislation through a House committee he logged onto Twitter to let the world know.

Its just a wonderful way to communicate in real time, said Plakon.

Twitter allows subscribers to send instant messages. The messages are called tweets, and they go out to people who choose to follow your account.

308 people are following State Senator Dave Aronberg. A recent tweet from the senators account compares the states budget deficit to a popular slasher movie.

It is the best way to communicate directly to your constituents. They dont have to fly to Tallahassee. They dont even have to incur a long distance phone call. They can just turn on their computer or their phone and the direct information goes right to them, said Aronberg.

The rush to get information out as fast as possible raises questions about etiquette. House leadership is asking members to pocket their blackberries during state business. It isnt hard to find Representatives texting anyway. Standards are looser in the Senate.

This is a people oriented business and I keep in touch with my constituents at all times. I want them to know what goes on up here, said Aronberg.

Media consultants say Floridas state government is at the forefront of online communicating. Training sessions are underway to teach lobbyists how to join the online discussion.

A recent poll shows people ages 45 to 55 are more like to send out twitter updates than any other age groups.

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