Daniel Sepulveda just might be the closest thing the United States has to an “Ambassador to the Internet.” And the 42-year-old is in the middle of a tricky battle.
For over a year, 17 LBJ School student researchers spent over 900 hours collecting more than 1 million data points on how Members of Congress use social media. To their surprise, they discovered that these elected officials used social media most often to publicize their positions on policy issues, not for self-promotion, campaigning or media appearances, as the researchers originally thought.
The work of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C., focuses on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color.
For more than a year, LBJ School Lecturer Sherri Greenberg and 17 of her students researched exactly how and why members of Congress use social media and examined its policy implications and best practices.
To their surprise, they found that the elected officials use social media most often to stake out their positions on issues and not necessarily to campaign or tout their media appearances. Their research, funded by the Library of Congress, will be shared with members of Congress as they try to use new media as effectively as possible.