August 25th, 2009
04:05 PM ET
14 years ago

Republican on new media: You can teach an old dog new tricks

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Four House Republicans have formed the Republican New Media Caucus."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Four Republicans behind the House Republican New Media Caucus (@GOPNMC on Twitter) are aiming to set a technological example for their colleagues.

"It's like that old saying 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks,'" Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Latta told CNN, "Well, yeah, you can."

Latta (@boblatta on Twitter) along with fellow Republicans Rep. John Culberson of Texas (@johnculberson), Rep. Buck McKeon (@BuckMcKeon) of California, and Rep. Rob Wittman (@RobWittman) of Virginia are the co-chairs of the House GOP New Media Caucus.

Roughly 60 House Republicans have joined the caucus, according to Latta's office. The group plans to sponsor staff briefings every four to eight weeks where Republican staffers will have the opportunity to meet with representatives of technology companies like YouTube, Apple, and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.

The caucus, which recently launched a Web site, is scouting social media services and other new technologies that might be of use to the rest of House Republican Conference in keeping in touch with the public.

Constituents "want to be kept up to date from us right now," Latta said, "They don't want to have to wait half a day, or a day, or two days later to actually get the communication," from a congressional office. So, the group is trying to identify "best practices" on social media services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Qik, and UStream.

The four men are also using the technologies themselves, an effort to set an example for colleagues who may be reticent to try out social media.

The caucus is also functioning as a space for its members to have discussions and share ideas about technology policy. Latta, Culberson, and Wittman met last week in Silicon Valley with reps from several large technology companies including Facebook, Apple, UStream, Google, Yahoo, and Oracle, according to Latta. The meetings involved discussions of tax law issues, patent and other intellectual property issues, and immigration policy.

And the group is also keeping an eye on possible regulation of use of social media by the Franking Commission, the House body that has traditionally regulated how members of Congress communicate with the public.

Related: A new session of Congress begins . . . on YouTube

Related: Congress wades through 'tweets'

"I think we need to go before them and say, 'Here's the technology that we're dealing with today, here's what our constituents are using, here's what the business world's using, and here we are not being able to utilize it," Latta said.

A spokesman for the Franking Commission told CNN the body had no immediate plans to consider new regulations governing members' use of social media services.

"We continue to review and encourage the use of new communications technologies that assist Members in reaching and providing important information to their constituents," Kyle Anderson, press director for the House Committee on Administration, wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

In addition to keeping tabs on any new regulations, Latta's office says the caucus is also working with the Franking Commission to obtain approval for members to place paid Web advertisements in Google search results and working with House leadership to obtain official certification for Apple's iPhone, so that Members and staffers can get their secure, official e-mail on the device.(BlackBerry, an iPhone competitor, is already certified for congressional use.)

"Technology is changing, the world's changing as to how people communicate," said Latta - people "don't want their government to be living in the Stone Age."

Filed under: GOP • House • Social Media • Social Networking
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Big D

    Oh good, the Republicans have new technologies to spread lies.

    August 25, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter the evil narcissistic Obamabot

    Fancy new gadgets. Same old tired message. Have a nice day.

    August 25, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Bridgette

    They smell new contributions. They won't sit down with their co-workers and try to work on a bill but they won't to appear online. This makes absolutley no sense too me. There are more important things to be concerned about. The Republicans have lost touch with reality. People are going bankrupt over medical bills and this is what they come up with. Just a bunch of smoke and mirrors these Republicans are. I am not saying the democrats are any better but atleast they do try and do something for the average American.

    August 25, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Steph

    Yippee! New ways for the GOP to spread lies and fear. I can't wait!!!

    August 25, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Ken

    Good god. [R]s with technology........that vision of utter hypocrisy is astounding, seeing as the base of that party has been doing its best over the last 15 years to see that America slips back into the Dark Ages. These anti-science, anti-conservative drama-cretins should go back to rubbing two rocks together in a cave to get their desired 'twitter' sounds....and activity for which they are much more suited.

    August 25, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter the evil narcissistic Obamabot

    John McCain is looking into getting those new-fangled contraptions the telegraph and the gramophone. Have a nice day!

    August 25, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Melissa

    They just don't get it. Its not the way their message is presented, it IS their message. They are out of touch, and no amount of twittering will change that. They are still nothing but a bunch of old rich white men who don't have a clue.

    August 25, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is that so? How about teaching them to:
    – not lie
    – respect the constitution
    -realize that laws apply to the poor as well as the rich
    – respect their President
    – put their country first

    Start there. Technology cn always be taught even to Totally Confused Morons.

    August 25, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. susie

    Democrats seem to beable to spread lies too.

    August 25, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Sally

    I suppose if you're on Twitter, etc. its okay to have archaic ideas, Republicans have no real plans to help this country...they are simply against everything...except those initiatives that help their well-heeled benefactors.

    August 25, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. John

    You Cannot teach an Old DONKEY New Tricks. 🙂

    August 25, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    I wander what they are twittering about now? Do you think there are any tweets pertaining to the special prosecutor?

    August 25, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Bill

    Old Habits Die Hard.

    August 25, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Peter

    Republicans needs more tea kettles and deer horns than technology!!

    August 25, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |



    REPUBLICANS are America's funniest video.

    August 25, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Doug, New Jersey

    "I am not saying the democrats are any better but atleast they do try and do something for the average American."

    Oh yeah, they try to do something for the average American alright. The Obama union thugs and ACORN goons go out and harass hard working average Americans who just want to shop at a store they love. That something the Democrats are doing is the reason why daddy might not be making it home tonight, such pacificsts aren't they?

    August 25, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Randolph Carter the evil narcissistic Obamabot

    Typical republican tweet:
    OMG Insurance lobbyists are my BFF! They always have lots of cash 4 U! Tax cutz are gr8! LOL 😉
    Have a nice day!

    August 25, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Now they can disseminate the latest crappola from King in NY. What these people fail to comprehend is that the new administration is full of new, young blood. They are ready to restore America's lustre, and they are not endebted to old, bigotted, billionaire fogies.

    Change is here. You break the law rich or poor and we're coming for you. Being an ex-anything will not make you immune. It's a new day to go hand in hand with y'all's 'new technology'.

    August 25, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. vick

    ya you guys are DOGS so we need humans to run this country!!! GOP IS DONE

    August 25, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |

    So now there getting tech savy to spread their lies and Mis Information same old same old lies and Fear out of that party!

    August 25, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. twitwits are the new nitwits

    Maybe they will let them twitter in prison,the sooner the better.hahaha

    August 25, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Lissa in Houston

    Huh?? Once they have these meetings and committees and learn these new tricks, what messages will they send?


    "Hey, I'm feeling all mavricky."

    "This is a patriotic twitter. There are no details, but it is very patriotic."

    "I'm Michael Steele – this is my hip hop message, with my cap turned sideways. Have a nice day."

    "There is no evolution. Gays are freaks. Women are servants. Non-believers are evil. All answers are in the re-re-re-translated King James version of the Bible."

    Yeah, its DEFINITELY about them needing to learn technology. THAT is absolutely why their archaic, greedy, white-privilege, anti-diversity, christian-only behaviors aren't being taken seriously!!!! (not)

    August 25, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Cheney is packing his bags as he's twittering.... making you think he's here when in fact he's trying to leave the country!

    August 25, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Kevin B

    Once the the GOP masters twitter they will be able to spread fear, lies and bigotry even faster than with Fox news and the radio talk show blowhard entertainers.

    be very afraid america

    August 25, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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