Social Media: #NELeg and the Digital Conversation

If you haven’t embraced it already, now is the time to follow #NELeg.

As with all other forms of news, social media is sometimes the fastest way to get legislative information. Likewise, as with all regular forms of social media browsing, there is the oversharing, the selfies, and the irrelevant. But occasionally, social media conversations can shape a debate.

Communication around the Capitol has been a slow transformation from exclusively discrete conversations in the rotunda to what we now see in the occasional twitter war. Last session, a Wallaby from the Lincoln Zoo made a visit and twitter and Facebook exploded as if there was a big foot sighting. In all seriousness, sometimes social media updates are critical for those in the building. Just this last month, when there was a shooting involving police on a street adjacent to the Capitol, updates were happening live on twitter faster than Capitol Security was able to send an official email to employees.

Reporters are now embracing digital platforms for rapid information sharing. They are sharing tokens such as pictures of official voting record sheets seconds after the senators have lit up their red and green lights. Much like the conversation around digital media and its effect on print media, the news may come in faster – but reader beware – the sources may not have been thoroughly vetted yet.

Most Coalition members are live on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. If that is the case, the categories below will ring true.

Media Journalists (officially) on the capitol beat:

  • Zach Pluhacek (LJS) @zachamiLJS
  • Joanne Young (LJS) @JoAnneHYoung
  • Paul Hammel (OWH) @PaulHammelOWH
  • Emily Nohr (OWH) @emnohr
  • Martha Stoddard (OWH) @stoddardOWH
  • Fredd Knapp (NET) @fredmknapp
  • Grant Schulte (AP) @GrantSchulte
  • Unicameral Update (Official Govn’t Information) @UnicamUpdate


Most senators have Facebook pages and twitter handles. Occasionally, they get into twitter debates with each other or post pictures with constituents. This is new territory for some of them, so one should proceed with caution when tagging or communicating with them via social media.

The “Others”

Outside of the official reporters and Senators themselves, there is also a cast of characters posting updates on bills and general cultural happenings during session:

  • Advocacy Groups
  • Lobbying Firms
  •  Stalkers (aka former staffers who can’t escape the pull of the Unicam)
  • Anonymous satirical pages
  • Bloggers
  • Citizen Activists

There is no doubt digital conversation has and continues to evolve communication functions and decorum standards in #NELeg; much like when lobbyists were ordered to no longer bring lawn chairs and “camp out” in the rotunda.

Discrete conversations can still happen, it’s just that now, someone might post a picture of it on Twitter and hypothesize. Compromise forming on #LBXXX? #NELeg

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