Follow Friday: @jahimes

ADVERTISEMENT
Himes signed up for Twitter in spring 2009, not long after he took office. He said no one had to convince him that the microblogging platform was a useful tool.

“I think social media is going to become only more important to those of us who have to be responsive to the public," Himes said, although he added he probably doesn't "maximize" his Facebook use.

"The beauty of Twitter is, literally, if there’s two minutes in an elevator and I have a funny thought, I can type it out," Himes said.

"Our lives are really, really busy, but there’s always three minutes between meetings, where if you've got something to say, you can say it. I just think it's a really low-impact way where you can have a fun and authentic conversation."

In fact, Himes tweeted from a train about his interview with The Hill, comparing the act of tweeting about an interview about tweeting to an episode of "The Twilight Zone" or an M.C. Escher painting.

“It’s ludicrous to think you’re going to do policy in 140 characters, so what I try to do on Twitter is just give people a little bit of an insight into the human side of what I do, and [to] create some sense of politicians as people,” Himes said. "I hope it gives people a little bit of an insider's look into what we’re doing and maybe a little bit of fun, so that's why I do it myself."

In the past, Himes has mocked the return to Styrofoam cups in the House cafeteria following the Republican takeover, and joked that Watson the supercomputer tweeting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) might be a sign that computers are taking over the world, a la the "Terminator" series.

"I try to keep it light on Twitter," Himes tweeted this week, but his tweets tend to have some bite, too. On Wednesday, Himes criticized Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry's recent TV ad using homosexual members of the military to attack the president. Himes called it "truly disgusting and profoundly un-American."

ADVERTISEMENT
Himes hears plenty of reaction from his 4,695 followers, he said, and he reads the feedback, too, although he rarely responds due to the overwhelming numbers. He added that he has received some pushback over "snarky" tweets in the past.

“There was one incident where I was being a little bit snarky about activity on the floor," he said, referring to a protracted discussion about specific research amendments. "I made a snarky comment about studying pollinators and I subsequently heard from the agricultural community, which did not appreciate my snarkiness."

But he laughs as he relates the tale, suggesting Himes won't turn his Twitter account into something "boilerplate" anytime soon.