Congress in Crisis: Power Inequity and Limited Capacity in the Age of Twitter

Grants and Contracts Details


Abstract Congress is routinely lurching from one disaster to another, but the crisis that remains constant is the communication crisis — a failure of the technology and information dissemination that enable Congress to effectively communicate. This project considers how the staff and professionals that drive the daily operations of Congress have adapted to meet the rapid pace of news and information, meaning the logistics of daily engagement in Congress mirror that of a disaster response. I explain how Congress has developed into a crisis communication operation, pairing 120 interviews of current and former congressional communication professionals with congressional Twitter data to illustrate how digital media has fueled the very same power asymmetries we expected new media to disrupt. The power of reputation-building online and rapid response has elevated Twitter in a way that ultimately constrains what little capacity lawmakers already had and makes the average member of Congress resource-dependent in terms of both policy and communication. Funding from the APSA Centennial Center grant program would support completion of this book project that details how Congress has developed into a crisis communication operation, providing the resources to merge social media data with interviews of congressional communication professionals to offer an unprecedented mixed methods approach to understanding the communication culture in Congress and the implications for congressional capacity.
Effective start/end date8/24/2212/1/23


  • American Political Science Association: $4,500.00


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