A public relations principles class had the opportunity to speak with Sen. Chuck Grassley about issues involving social media.
“He is one of the most prolific social media senators on Capitol Hill,” said Michael Wigton, lecturer in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Wigton’s JlMC 220 lecture class has been learning about government and how it relates to social media and public relations. Grassley agreed to speak to the class in a Skype session.
“It wasn’t about being a Republican or a Democrat, it was about social media and politics,” Wigton said.
Chuck Grassley is an Iowa Republican state senator who has served on the Senate since 1980. He graduated from University of Northern Iowa and received his PhD from the University of Iowa.
Grassley is well-known in the world of social networking. He has his own YouTube channel and Facebook page, but is most noted for his Twitter account.
According to Grassley, he uses all of the methods he can to encourage dialogue.
“If you are going to represent government, there must be dialogue,” Grassley said.
Grassley spoke about the criticisms he had received for using abbreviations in his tweets. He has abstained from using abbreviations that are not well-known.
He said the whole purpose is to communicate, and if you can’t effectively communicate, you are wasting your time.
Grassley currently has over 68,000 Twitter followers. He uses Twitter to communicate with the people who are unable to attend meetings or political events.
He thinks Twitter is the most efficient way of communicating via social networks.
Social networking gives him a way to respond to those who follow him from a distance or are unable to attend live events.
“We must learn to live with mean feedback,” Grassley said.
Twitter and other forms of social media have kept Grassley on the public’s radar.
He once tweeted about hitting a deer and a man from New York responded with concern that Grassley didn’t go back to check on it.
“I assumed the deer dead,” Grassley said. He was able to respond to the man and explain why he did not turn back.
Grassley informed the class about the benefits of interning for government offices. Grassley’s offices have several interns that work in multiple areas.
“It gets your foot in the door,” Grassley said.
Grassley will be 80 years old this coming September and uses social networks, especially Twitter, more than any other senator.
“I was tweeting one day in church; my wife slapped my hand and said, ‘We don’t do that in church,’” Grassley said as he explained his wife’s lack of Twitter experience.
The younger senators have been known to ask Grassley for advice about effective communication.
“They call me the chief Senate twitterer,” Grassley said.