I post about politics all the time and would like to be able to share my thoughts and opinions with my elected representatives. Congressmen, Senators, the Governor, is there any way to connect with them on Facebook?
It’s definitely hard to know whether they’re reading your posts or tracking constituent views and opinions, but yes, Facebook not only has a way that you can share your status updates and posts with your elected representatives, but even automatically identifies who your representatives are based on your address. In fact, most people don’t know their current reps and politicians, so this by itself is a useful feature, but the idea that you can just tag them when you’re posting and they’ll be notified and even have the option of responding? Fantastic.
I will hasten to note that Facebook has the impression of being fairly anonymous but of course, anything hostile or overly negative that you post could still have legal consequences, so don’t go too far off the deep end with hostility and criticism because your freedom of speech generally ends at the point when you move from complaint to threat. But I don’t need to say that, do I? We’re all civil here, aren’t we?
Let me step you through how I utilized this feature to share a post I made about a proposed commuter rail line through the Front Range with the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper.
To start, I wrote my post and chose a colored background because, well, I can:
To share it, I’m going to click on the “Feeling/Activity” button, even if that may seem a bit unintuitive. It brings up a menu of different “feelings” and such, but near the bottom of the list is ‘Contacting”…
Chose the red telephone (is it the hotline to Moscow? Or is that too sensitive a topic? 🙂 ) and it’ll show another menu listing all your reps and other politicians who represent your town, city, or state at various levels of government:
As highlighted, the sixth option down is Governor John Hickenlooper (though he’s not identified as Governor, interestingly). You can also see my Senators, Congressman Polis and Donna Lynne (Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, in case you didn’t know). For this update, I’m just going to tag the Governor by selecting that entry. As far as I can tell you can’t specify more than one for a given post, so you can’t just blanket tag everyone in government every time you post!
Apparently government officials don’t want fancy backgrounds or colors because the image vanishes from my draft post, though the connection to Hickenlooper shows up and even includes a Contact button:
Here it notes that he’s the Governor of Colorado, so it’s a useful confirmation that he is indeed the person with whom I want to share this particular post. That’s basically it. Now just click on “Post” as usual and your government representative will presumably be notified that you posted and “contacted” them:
That’s it. Pretty easy, actually. If they’re paying attention…