5 Questions with TweetIllinois.org

July 1, 2009

Yesterday Governor Quinn told the Illinois General Assembly that if they sent him a budget that cut social services, he would veto it. Hours later, the legislators did just that. So it's valid to wonder what the folks in Springfield are thinking. That's where TweetIllinois.org comes in. The new site from the Illinois Policy Institute collects the Twitter feeds of Illinois State Representatives and Senators. I was pretty amazed by this new window into the thinking of our elected representatives, so I contacted Kristina Rasmussen, the Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute to learn more about the site. Appropriately, she kept all her answers to 140 characters or less. tweetillinois AG: Where did the idea for Tweet Illinois come from? KR: TweetIllinois.org was inspired by TweetCongress.org, which tracks Congressional tweeters. We highlight IL state legislators using Twitter. AG: How do you hope people will use the site? KR: The site aims to promote communication between legislators and voters. We can follow their ideas and actions and share our own thoughts. AG: Who are the best Tweeters in the General Assembly? Any memorable tweets? KR: Sen. Dan Rutherford (@RutherfordDan) and Rep. John Fritchey (@johnfritchey) provide a good stream of to-the-minute updates from Springfield. KR: (part b) Fritchey's tweet about it being "not real fun to stand next to the Speaker on the floor and speak against his bill" sticks out in my mind. AG: Have you seen an increase in legislators using Twitter since creating the site? KR: It's doubled, going from 10 legislators to 26! We held training in the Capitol rotunda on 5/19. We're available to help teach legislators. AG: How would you recommend legislators walk the personal/political line on Twitter? KR: A good tweeter will tell us his or her policy positions and political perspectives, but they'll remind us that they're a human being, too!
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