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I was honored to be asked by the
Texas Senate to testify how Social Media impacts Open Government at a hearing
on May 11, 2010 and you are welcome to read my Statement concerning Charge #13 for the Senate
the Public Information (Open Records) Act and the Open Meetings Act to ensure
that government continues to operate in a way that is open and transparent. The
study should consider how advances in technology and the emergence of various
forms of social media (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter) have affected
communications by and within governmental bodies.
The questions from the Texas Senators
were very interesting since the first question was whether governments should
do anything to regulate Social Media at all or just let things happen. You can listen to the hearing on the Texas Senate website
and the testimony and questions begin about Charge #13 at about 2 hours and 3
minutes into the hearing.
Social Media Activity by Texas
Senate Affairs Committee
It seemed like a good exercise to
see what the Committee members were doing with Social Media so I prepared this
chart as part of my Statement:
Ironically enough the Committee
Chair Senator Robert Duncan was unaware that he was on Twitter until his staff
advised him during the hearing. This only proves that elected officials have to
be active with Social Media because it's part of deal today and also why 430 Members of Congress have YouTube pages.
Social Media is the way the world communicates and elected officials are
Should Blogs and Social Media be
The Texas Senate hearing was very
timely since it was on the heels of the April 7, 2010 White House Memo
declaring that posting blogs and Social Media are public meetings.
This Memo is interesting and perplexing in that few people who post on
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc really think that everything about the public
consequences. However when government employees post items on Social Media
using government computers or during the workday they are not private citizens
and there are consequences to what they say. Legislators in the US Congress and
in the States need to be mindful about Social Media, however Social Media
changes is not static nor can any laws to attempt to regulate Social Media.
A recent Texas Senate review of social media regulation brings up many of the questions federal and state