Toolkit: Social Media

Are you interested in engaging with your policymaker? Only have a few minutes? Social media is the answer. Social media is a quick and powerful way to reach your legislators. It is a great way to share your thoughts with your representatives in a concise way. Check out our tips for engaging with policymakers via social media.

Social media platforms:

There are many social media platforms to engage with representatives; some are more effective than others. In general, Facebook and Twitter are the most commonly used social media platforms to engage with policymakers. Congressional staffers particularly use Twitter to get up-to-the-minute news and information.

Who should I engage with:

As a constituent, engaging with representatives of your home state or district on social media is a great place to start. Remember, they represent you. You have voting power and they care what you have to say. If you are engaged on a specific issue or legislation, engaging with the members that sit on the Congressional committee(s) of jurisdiction can also be very effective.

All members of Congress and Congressional committees manage a social media presence. Start by searching for your representatives or the committee online (Note: Each bill indicates the committee(s) of jurisdiction and each committee website will have a list of its members of Congress). You can find your representatives’ social media pages and handles through their website (usually at the bottom of the page or under the “Contact” tab).

General Tips:

  • Keep it short: Policymakers and their staff are very busy. Shorter posts with relevant and impactful information will get the most attention. If your post is too long, you may lose your reader before the end. This is especially true for twitter, which has strict character limits.
  • Be timely: Make sure the subject of your post is relevant with what is happening in Congress. If Congress is considering the budget resolution tomorrow, tweet about it now! Of course it helps if you are receiving up-to-date information about what is happening on the Hill. For more information on how to stay connected, please see our science policy news resource page.
  • Be engaging: Use graphics (i.e., infographics, pictures, etc.), if possible, to make your post more engaging. Infographics can be a great way to distill down information in an easy to understand and fun way. Check out a blog post by Ilissa Ocko, a climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, to learn more about making your own infographics.
  • Don’t forget to thank you representative: Legislators are often inundated with requests and criticism. However, if you like something your representative is doing or has done, tell them. It will send them a signal that they should continue to fight for those issues and that it’s making a difference.

For more tips on using social media, please see the Sharing Science social media toolkit.

Sample Tweets and Infographics:

Here are some sample tweets to get you started. Consider downloading and sharing one of our #ScienceisEssential infographics that highlight the value science brings to our everyday lives. For more specific social media campaigns, please check out the AGU Policy Action Center, where we provide a platform to send targeted and timely tweets to your representatives.

  • @legislator: Support fed-funded research. It benefits econ, promotes natl sec & protects public health.
  • @legislator: thank you for supporting [bill name] & your continued support for science #scienceisessential
  • @legislator: [S.2222] helps scientists like me in [VA] conduct #research that protects communities & nat’l sec. Vote yes!

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For more information about how to use social media, including general tips, please visit our Sharing Science page.