House 2.0: A Congressional transition is livestreamed, tweeted and Facebooked

From my National Journal article today on the GOP transition in the House:

Today is the first day of the 112th Congress of the United States of America. One way that the incoming Republican majority will embrace innovation and transparency in the legislative process will be increased use of video and new media. As Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote at ReadWriteWeb, commenting on CNN’s report yesterday, Facebook will livestream the opening day of Congress.

In a post on, the incoming speaker invited people to visit the “Pledge to America” Facebook page to view the transition to a GOP-controlled House and comment on the feed.

Key detail: you don’t have to be on Facebook to watch. You can see it right here. As Nick Schaper, the speaker’s director of new media, explained, the speaker’s staff is using the plugin, available on Facebook, with the standard House of Representatives floor feed available on Capitol Hill to put the feed online. Notably, that also means that citizens and other interested parties don’t have to join Facebook, log in or “Like” the page to watch the transition. The feed at is available on the open Web and can be embedded on any blog or article. and Facebook won’t be the only options used by the new speaker’s office either, according to Schaper. When asked whether the speaker would use or UStream or YouTube, Schaper said that “we’ve never limited ourselves or worked exclusively with any technology partners on efforts such as this. We’ve used all of the above and I look forward to finding more new tools that can help our members more efficiently connect with those they represent.”

UPDATE: Notably, the new speaker’s remarks were livetweeted in sync with his speech by the new @SpeakerBoehner account on Twitter. It’s safe to say that, at least at this moment, Boehner was not tweeting himself.

For more on social media, transparency and the 112 Congress, click on over the full article at National Journal.

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.


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