Friday, August 20, 2010

Effective Communication

The need to communicate messages to constituents is nothing new, and all legislators feel it is important to communicate effectively with their constituents. Effective communication is of central importance to democratic representation.

Members of Congress have long practiced the art of communicating with constituents in face-to-face settings, and with print and broadcast news reporters. With the growth of the Internet, website technologies enable new and different forms of legislator-constituent communication. And indeed, these new technologies can enhance the quality and amount of communication within legislative representation beyond what has traditionally been available in face-to face interactions and in the print and broadcast media. For example, when members of Congress place information about themselves, their accomplishments and voting records on their website, any interested constituent will have ready access to that information and can direct their attention to whatever content is of most interest to them.

Members' web presence has improved dramatically over the past two decades, starting with a handful of gopher sites in the early 1990s to the present day official webpages for every member. ( and

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