GOP promotes social-media use despite recent controversy

McKeon, who lost to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) in the final-eight round of the New Media Challenge, said, "If you ignore [new media] you do so at your own peril."

McKeon credited President Obama with using social media to a "huge advantage" during his 2008 election. "[He] kind of made the last election different than any before," he said, and pointed out that social media has become an important aspect of any political campaign ever since.

"You can use it in the wrong way," McKeon said, acknowledging Weiner, who was forced to resign last month after sending inappropriate pictures to followers through social media. "That was really over the top," he said of the former lawmaker's Twitter use.

McKeon, McMorris Rodgers, and heavy social media users such as Fleming and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who took second place in the challenge, lead the way by encouraging their fellow Republicans to think of social media as another tool for connecting with constituents.

The social media contest, one of the ways the Republican Conference encourages social media use, aimed to promote and better equip members with "innovative ways to use these tools," according to a statement by McMorris Rodgers.

Participants in the challenge included 54 freshman lawmakers, 44 continuing members and eight committees for a total of 106 Republican members and committees.