In twin moves reflecting their new roles in the next Congress, Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) modified their official handles on Twitter.
Pelosi, the outgoing Speaker of the House, modified her Twitter name to drop her title, changing from "SpeakerPelosi" to "NancyPelosi."
Boehner, meanwhile, transformed from "GOPLeader" to "SpeakerBoehner," reflecting his assumption of the top spot in the House on Wednesday.
Pelosi's account sought to downplay the downgrade, seeming to joke that followers should "rejoice" that her Tweets would be easier to retweet — or copy to one's own account — now that her handle was two characters shorter.
I'm now @NancyPelosi - 2 characters shorter than @SpeakerPelosi. RTers rejoice!
Boehner's communications director, Kevin Smith, noted the change on his account, adding a "tcot" tag meant to flag the tweet for other conservatives on Twitter:
Check it out ... @GOPLeader Boehner is now @SpeakerBoehner #tcot
The change in Twitter names is essentially a small one, though they serve as one 21st century signal of the change in power in the House.
At the beginning of the 111th Congress, Twitter still had a low proliferation on Capitol Hill among lawmakers, offices and committees, and spokesmen. The offices took increased opportunities to make news with the accounts, such as when Pelosi recalled the Congress for a brief vote this summer during its recess. A number of offices are still wading through the unprecedented change of power as Twitter handles containing official titles were changed.
Outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who will serve as Democrats' minority whip in the next Congress, for instance, didn't create his account until February of 2010, the height of the healthcare battle in Congress. As of Tuesday night at 9 p.m., Twitter's website said Hoyer's page — under the name "LeaderHoyer" — no longer existed.
Outgoing House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who will become the majority leader of the next Congress, meanwhile took over Boehner's old screen name of "GOPLeader." Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) assumed Cantor's "GOPWhip." McCarthy also owned the Twitter account bearing the name of his formal title, "ChiefDeputyWhip" as of Tuesday night.
On the Democratic side, Clyburn still had not changed his "WhipClyburn" title as of last night.