It is amazing to me how quickly Twitter is growing, and the number of politicians who use this as a communication tool.  Some just don’t get it and delegate their Twitter profile to a staffer.  There are some who do it themselves.

Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) for instance “tweeted” on Saturday:

Wrenched back playing hockey. Thankful for chiropractor. Getting old, but in the spirit of season of Lord Stanley’s Cup, will play hurt.

I like the personal updates like that.  My only criticism of Governor Pawlenty is that since setting up his account he’s only “tweeted” (yes I feel silly writing that word) 22 times.  Not great for communication.  He has 3,977 followers and is following 1,531.  I’m still waiting for a follow-back, but I’m sure he’s mainly only following Minnesotans back.

Twitter newcomer Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) already has a tremendous following with 25,224 (at last check) followers.  She’s only following 41 however.  She’s currently following different Governors, the Alaskan Congressional Delegation, and different news agencies (local and national).  If I were so fortunate to be able to consult her on Web 2.0 stuff I’d say while you can’t obviously follow back all who follow you – make sure you follow Alaskans back.

She actually tweets quite a bit, average 4-6 a day, and already has 162 updates.  One of her latest:

Basketball camp starts tomorrow so Todd has kids packing hoop gear as I fly to Juneau. Look forward to upcoming wk incl Michael Reagan visit

She uses the Twitter application for Blackberrys called TwitterBerry, so it is pretty certain that she does her own “tweeting” (still feeling ridiculous about writing that).

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) also is on Twitter.  He has 23,320 followers, but does a pretty good job following back with 18,966.  He however only has 29 updates, and all of his tweets seem to be just links to press releases and/or articles on his websiteOne of his latest tweets about New Orleans being selected to host the 2013 Super Bowl:

This is a huge win for New Orleans , but also the entire state of Louisiana. http://twurl.cc/zdh

Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) is also interesting to follow on Twitter.  He has 8,734 followers and does a great job following back with 8,638.  He also has a separate Twitter account for campaign updates, and one for official state updates.  He also tweets quite a bit with 332 updates.

He’s a baseball fan, and one of his recent updates about a University of Texas baseball game said:

stayed up past midnight watching Texas vs Boston College baseball game…25 innings. some history made and Longhorns pull it out 3-2.

He also put a plug in on Saturday about a local restaurant:

Torchy’s Tacos S 1st & El Paso..Amber will brighten ur day as well as makes a killer taco!!!

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) also tweets has 4,769 followers and follows 4,496.  She has 121 updates.  She shares some interesting links with her tweets, and also links to blog posts she does for Townhall.com.

Then there is Congressman Thad McCotter (R-MI) who has 4,188 followers, has 3,876 that he is following, and has 213 updates.  He is also the only Congressman that I know to be on the panel for RedEye on Fox News.  It takes somebody special to sit next to Greg Gutfeld.

Not to be outdone Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) also tweets.  He has 7,380 followers and is following 7,602 people.  He has given 359 updates, and shared his thoughts about the Justice Department’s opinion regarding the Uighurs release.

The Obama Justice Department told the Supreme Court friday that the Uighurs have no right to be released into the United States.Good!

Then Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) has 4,376 followers and is following 4,387 people.  He has 147 updates.  He is the only one I’ve seen who has responded to tweets (that I’m aware of).

Regarding some recent criticism he received from Erick Erickson at RedState, he “tweeted”:

@ewerickson thank you for the forum to post on the NRSC endorsement in Florida. You can read my guest post at http://tr.im/mMw0

Then last, but not least (and this is by no means an exhaustive list), my Senator, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also does his own “tweeting” from his Blackberry.  He has 9,502 followers and follows 9,104.  He has 223 updates.  Congratulations are in order as he celebrates the birth of his fourth great-grandchild.

Reagan Grassley born 230am 4th great grandchild of mine and Barb. Father St Rep Pat Grassley 7lb 12oz

Those are a few of the politicians that I follow on Twitter.  Of course there are local politicians as well, like State Representative Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights), for instance who tweets.

My advice to politicians (local, state, or Federal) who use Twitter would be this:

  • Don’t delegate this to a staff member.  Senators are notoriously bad at doing this.  It really doesn’t take that much time.  It can, but it doesn’t have to.
  • Don’t just have links to articles on your website.  If we want to just read that then make sure you have an RSS feed for your website where people can subscribe.  That really isn’t the the purpose of Twitter.
  • Do follow back, at least those who are your constituents, it is a great way to receive feedback from those who live in your district or state.
  • Another thought along the same line as the previous point, respond to feedback via Twitter, especially with constituents – if you have a lot of followers, you’ll probably need to limit it to constituents.
  • Use Twitter to correct news stories – Senator Grassley and Governor Palin have done this.
  • Do give personal updates.  It just helps your followers connect with you better.
  • If you are going to have Twitter, actually use it.  Doing one tweet a week or every other week is really pretty sad.  There isn’t any reason you can’t do at least one tweet a day during the work week at a minimum.  It really doesn’t take that much time, you’re limited to 140 characters after all.

Anyway, if you are a politician, happy tweeting.  If you are a Twitter user, I highly recommend you follow those mentioned above.  You can of course follow me as well.  That would be much appreciated.

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