Cover Story
OOIDA 2013 Legislative Guide
Social media’s influence
Another level of commitment

Opening up a line of communication with elected officials for many of us can be a tad intimidating. It’s normal for someone to envision a series of hoops and hurdles to overcome to actually make their point about an issue with lawmakers. Historically, this might have been a fair assessment, but today the obstacles are your own misperceptions.

A major contributor to the change is social media websites.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube give people even more options when it comes to communicating with candidates and elected officials in federal, state and local government.

It’s important to note that the growth of online communication is no reason to stop pursuing face-to-face meetings, making a phone call, writing or emailing officials at all levels of government. Those methods are tried-and-true ways to share your opinion, as well as find out what your elected, and appointed, officials think about a particular issue.

To access social media sites for elected officials, visit

The great part about the trend to social media is that it provides citizens with more opportunities to be involved. Growth has come quickly on the sites.

The Congressional Management Foundation found that the use of social media tools by congressional offices continues to rise, and offices are using them more frequently.

From 2009 to 2011 the proportion of member websites linking to official Facebook and Twitter pages nearly quadrupled from about 20 percent to about 75 percent.

Research also found that nearly all governors communicate via Facebook or Twitter. A high number of them also use YouTube to get their messages out by video. Thousands of state lawmakers are also frequent users of social media sites.

Of course, the majority of messages put out by elected officials are essentially press releases. But many of them also take the time to communicate with their constituents. It is great that they are reaching out to keep people informed about what they are up to and what they think about certain issues.

It’s up to truckers and other constituents to take advantage of the new platforms available, as well as the time-tested methods, to push issues of concern. LL