Representative John Culberson, the Twittering and Qik’ing Congressman from my good old home town of Houston, Texas, has been on a rampage this morning about a proposed new regulation for the House of Representatives, which, he claims, will require all world wide web communications from the House floor from those in congress to receive “prior approval” from a Democratically-controlled Committee on House Administration before it goes out to the web. From the letter:
- Official content posted on an external domain must be clearly identified as produced by a House office for official purposes, and meet existing content rules and regulations;
- To the maximum extent possible, the official content should not be posted on a website or page where it may appear with commercial or political information or any other information not in compliance with the House’s content guidelines.
- Any link from a House website to an external site on which the Member video is hosted must contain an exit notice.
- CHA, the Office of Web Assistance(OWA), or other designated House entity should maintain a list of external sites that meet whatever requirements are established by the CHA
Per the above proposed recommendations, this would rule out any Twitter communication because by law, each Tweet would need to be prepended by a disclaimer, identifying it as being produced by a House office for official purposes and, as Culberson puts it, that will most likely in and of its self exceed 140 characters. Also, it would mean that any Congressman wishing to use a site such as Twitter to share publicly what is going on in Congress with their constituents will have to get prior approval, censorship essentially, before using such a site or technology.
I find it ironic that it is a Republican that is trying to show the Democrats how to use technology on this, but Representative Culberson has a point here, and we need to speak up if we’re to continue seeing social media propagate through our government. Social Media in government means a more open government, and that’s a good thing! I’d like to encourage all that read this to write your Congressman or Congresswoman about this (Pelosi is part of this!) and get them to see things straight rather than requiring censorship of our House floor.
You can read the Proposal here. (Which, were this proposal to take effect, I believe I would be breaking the law by sharing with you)
UPDATE: Want to discuss? Let’s discuss in a nice open format right below this post via the FriendFeed link below!