Lawmakers are experimenting with new ways to communicate with the extra characters Twitter has given them.
The increased 280-character limit for tweets is already being used to post full statements, Q&As with experts or the member, more hashtags and longer lists in a single posting, instead of a series of tweets.
Here are how some members are using those extra 140 characters:
Lists: Users now have more space to tweet out long lists. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. on Friday tweeted a list of seven items that he said Americans want from the government. Included on the Virginia Democrat’s list were climate action, background checks and health care fixes.
In polls Americans overwhelmingly agree that they want: - healthcare fixes, not sabotage - help for the middle class, not tax cuts for the rich - the DREAM Act - climate action - background checks - infrastructure funding - Inclusion, not divisionIgnore them at your own risk. — Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) November 8, 2017
Hashtags: Using hashtags helps tweets get picked up and seen by more eyes because interested parties search for them. Rep. Lou Barletta used five hashtags Thursday to share his message about President Donald Trump’s tax plan. The Pennsylvania Republican’s hashtags included hot button words such as #China, #Jobs and #TaxCuts.
It's funny, people who are attacking @realDonaldTrump while he negotiates with #China, oppose #TaxCuts that keep and grow #Jobs in America. (Also will give big #TaxCuts to middle class) Shouldn't everyone agree #US needs strong economy?— Rep. Lou Barletta (@RepLouBarletta) November 9, 2017
Threads: Twitter threads have always been a popular way to get a statement out because you can use as many characters as you need in multiple tweets. But threads just got more substantive. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto used six tweets on Thursday to talk about DREAMers. Half of the Nevada Democrat’s tweets used more characters than she could have a week earlier.
Retweet yourself: Retweets, like threads, can also help boost your messaging. But now members can take it a step further. Rep. Jim Costa tweeted a lengthy message about legislation he is leading that protects farmers. The California Democrat then retweeted it to add a shorter statement.
Jim Costa (@RepJimCosta) November 9, 2017
Q&A: Rep. Cedric L. Richmond held a Q&A session Thursday called #AskTheExperts. The Louisiana Democrat tweeted out questions from constituents about the Republican tax plan and the experts from groups such as the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors had plenty of room to explain complicated issues.
The combination of changes will slow the housing market as fewer people are incentivized to buy/move. Families will lose about 10% of the equity in their homes as overall market slows down. That means a loss of about $20k equity in La., $23k in Orleans Parish #asktheexperts (2/2)— NOMAR (@NOMetRealtors) November 9, 2017
Meanwhile, Arizona Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran embodied what every lawmaker must have felt when they got 280 characters.