A: They’re nearly always words straight from my mouth or from my email. Often a staff member will type the 140 characters.
Q: When did you join Twitter?
A: I registered an account ages ago but only started tweeting in July of 2010. Up until that point, I frankly wasn’t sure I understood the point of Twitter — but once I dove in, I found it fascinating.
Q: What do you see as the most significant purpose of Twitter for you?
A: The most significant purpose is simply to have another way to get in touch with people, and to give people another way to get in touch with me. Very often I’ll hear from constituents about an issue on Twitter before I hear about it over phone calls or email, let alone through postal mail.
One of my big goals for Twitter is to balance tweets about politics with tweets about equally interesting non-political topics. I’ve been a physicist for a lot longer than I’ve been a member of Congress, so sometimes I’ll tweet about a breakthrough at the Large Hadron Collider or something about fusion energy. Actually, those are among the tweets I hear about the most. I also tweet often about interesting events or people in the community.
I find it challenging to tweet about policy; the length constraints are too severe. But it’s easy to say, “Here's a neat idea or article — take a look.”
Q: Example of a "best" Twitter moment?
A: My most retweeted post was definitely a recent one on SOPA [the Stop Online Piracy Act]: “#SOPA would make the Internet less secure, less competitive and — worst of all — less free. It will not have my vote.” That was a case of Twitter working really well: It let the public know, in as brief and timely a way as humanly possible, what I was thinking on a breaking issue.
Another huge Twitter moment was when I beat IBM’s Watson in a round of "Jeopardy" last year. The news actually broke over Twitter: Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) tweeted the outcome live from the event. After that, I was just overwhelmed by the range of people who tweeted to share their thoughts — everyone from Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Rachel Maddow to Ken Jennings to people whose languages I still don't recognize.
Q: Example of a "worst" Twitter moment?
A: I’d say my worst Twitter moments are all the tweets that never get sent. So often I’m rushing between meetings when something occurs to me that I would love to share, but by the time I find a spare moment, I’ve either forgotten about it or just moved on to the next thing.
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Past “Follow Friday” Twitter profiles have included Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Mike Honda (Calif.) and Jim Himes (Conn.), and Republican Reps. Bob Latta (Ohio), Glenn Thompson (Pa.), John Shimkus (Ill.) and David SchweikertDavid SchweikertThe Hill's 12:30 Report Former GOP congressman lobbying for electric cars Senate races heating up MORE (Ariz.).