Twitter: A Key Player in the #FourthBranch

Twitter: A Key Player in the #FourthBranch

The #FourthBranch is about reasserting the People as a part of the Government through social media technologies. You can read more about the #FourthBranch in the initial post Imagining a Fourth Branch of Government.

Since writing that post, I have come to the conclusion that a “Fourth Branch” would not be about a single technology and it would not be about official powers or constitutional amendments.

The #FourthBranch is about three things:

  1. Identify the most effective communication technologies.
  2. Use these technologies to create a better relationship between the People and the Government.
  3. Expand the People/Government relationship by enhancing the best communication technologies.

One of the major social media technologies being used to create a better relationship between the Government and the People is Twitter.

Twitter is important to the #FourthBranch because it is the most effective way for an elected leader to create a meaningful relationship with their constituency.

Every Government Leader Needs to Tweet

Twitter is without a doubt the best way for any leader to connect with their followers. Leaders can send out 140-character messages that contain thoughts, ideas, questions, announcements and links to content on the web. Followers can then consume these messages, reply with feedback, and interact with other followers – all in real-time. When used effectively, Twitter creates an unprecedented level of connection and communication between leaders and followers.

Twitter is so effective for leaders that I have to question the commitment of any major government leader (with the resources of a staff) that does not utilize it in some way. That being said, the Twitterverse can be intimidating to those that are not completely comfortable with internet technology.

As younger and more internet-savvy leaders are being elected, more and more communication between the People and the Government is happening on Twitter.

Every Citizen Should Be on Twitter

Every elected leader should have an active Twitter account, but their presence on Twitter is only valuable if their constituency follows and interacts with them.

The biggest issue holding Twitter back from becoming an important part of our Government is the fact that it is a social network and therefore seen as a wastebasket of useless information. To do some degree this is true, but Twitter is also a place where important people, decisions makers, experts, and journalists are sharing information in the most convenient manner.

If you think Twitter has too much garbage to sift to, remember that you only see the tweets from the users you follow. A million teenage girls could be talking about Justin Bieber’s new haircut, but you don’t have to read any of it unless you are following them. Instead, you could be following your local, state, and federal representatives to stay informed about their projects and decisions.

You can get a lot out of Twitter just by following people, but the real magic happens when you interact with the people you follow. If you have something to say to a leader, you can “mention” them in a tweet. Smart leaders check their “mentions” often to see what people are saying about them. If a leader likes your comment, they may “retweet” it to their followers or respond directly back to you.

It can be very exciting when these interactions are happening in real-time. One second you are tweeting to a handful of family and friends and the next second your conversation is being shared with 100,000 followers. It happens everyday on Twitter.

Putting aside the excitement of speaking to thousands of people, Twitter is simply a great way to consume content on the Internet. I recommend that you only follow the people you really care about. If you are following 30-50 people, you can stay on top of their tweets by checking Twitter a few times each day. If you are following more than that, it becomes difficult (or impossible) to stay on top of what everyone is saying.

I encourage you to give Twitter a try (or a second try). Focus on using Twitter to stay up to date on what you favorite public figures are doing and it will be a valuable resource to you.

Twitter Connects Us

Twitter is a communication technology that truly connects people that never had a chance of connecting in the past. I have had real interactions with field-leading scientists (@lmlodinow, @RudyTanzi), a famous author and spiritual leader (@DeepakChopra), a futurist, and mind expanding filmmaker (@jason_silva).

Twitter not only made these exchanges possible, it made them easy.

With enough participation from government leaders and citizens, Twitter helps the Government serve the People. #FourthBranch.

20
Sep 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 3 Comments

America is a Mess, Going to Vote for Ron Paul Gary Johnson

America is a Mess, Going to Vote for <del>Ron Paul</del> Gary Johnson

In general, I would say I am pretty fed up with the current political system in America. If you want to focus on specifics like our foreign policy, lack of universal healthcare system, and the infinite-growth based economy; then I would say I am flat out disgraced.

To top it off, our most important institutions and industries are controlled by massive corporations that have shown they care more about making money than important things like life, peace, the environment, and long-term sustainability. If you don’t believe me, learn about the Military-industrial complex that largely controls how our foreign policy.
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16
Sep 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS No Comments

@BarackObama Did a Reddit.com AMA, Gets A for Effort

@BarackObama Did a Reddit.com AMA, Gets A for Effort

The other week, I wrote a letter to Barack Obama encouraging him to talk to us by using Twitter like a real person. While I have yet to hear back from the President or his staff directly, I did get an answer of sorts a few days later when Obama announced an impromptu “AMA” on Reddit…
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04
Sep 2012
AUTHOR David
CATEGORY

Blog

COMMENTS No Comments

Letter to @BarackObama, Please Talk to Us

Dear President Barack Obama,

Over 300 million people live in this country and live under your administration. Only a few of us get to talk to you directly and only a few more get to be in your presence. To put it lightly, there is a disconnect between yourself and the People. We do not feel like we know you.

The good news is that a technology exists that allows you to talk to us. It is called Twitter and you are not using it correctly.

Twitter is about connecting leaders with their followers through authentic interaction. Despite your staggering amount of followers (over 10 million), here is why your attempt at Twitter has been an #EpicFail.
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26
Aug 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 1 Comment

Exploring Consciousness With or Without the Government’s Approval

In science, there is something called the “hard problem of consciousness”. The hard problem is the inability of science to explain why or how we experience sensations.

For example, science can identify the color red, quantify it, and explain how our brain produces a visual representation; but science cannot explain the actual experience of red. The brain is an amazing information processing center of electrochemical activity, but within it you will not find the color red anywhere.

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15
Aug 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 1 Comment

Christians Conservatives, Social Programs and Universal Health Care

Christians Conservatives, Social Programs and Universal Health Care

Christian Conservatives make up a large portion of America’s voting population (about 15% according to Wikipedia.org). Many Christians find themselves on the political right which in some ways makes sense to me, but in other ways makes no sense at all.

The Christian value of “redemption” fits quite well with the Conservative value of “individual freedom and responsibility”. If God offers salvation to every single person, then why should we help the people that refuse to accept it?
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08
Aug 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 6 Comments

Solving Online Piracy Problems with the @LouisCK Business Model

Solving Online Piracy Problems with the @LouisCK Business Model

With the evolution of the internet and especially torrents, sharing media has become incredibly easy. This has the recording and movie industries pissed off because they are losing a lot of money.

In fact, they are so pissed off, they want to pass laws that would allow the government to essentially censor the internet (see SOPA and PIPA).
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04
Aug 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 1 Comment

How the #LesserOfTwoEvils Attitude is Killing Democracy

How the #LesserOfTwoEvils Attitude is Killing Democracy

It’s 2012 and we have a big presidential election coming up in November. Most people I talk to cannot fully endorse a major party candidate, but are going to vote for one anyway. To justify this action, they explain how they are making their vote count by choosing the “lesser of two evils”.

On the surface, the “lesser of two evils” argument makes sense because it recognizes the unlikelihood of electing a third-party candidate. After looking more closely, I was able to see how the “lesser of two evils” attitude is not entirely rational and is actually killing our democracy.
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10
Jul 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 2 Comments

The Most Powerful Choices We Make as Consumers

The Most Powerful Choices We Make as Consumers

Lately, I have been consuming various articles, podcasts, and documentaries about the vast number of problems that currently face humanity. We have serious issues with energy, economics, food, human rights, politics, and war.

The common theme I have encountered while learning about these problems is that there are a few super powerful people with evil intentions that are preventing society from correcting it’s mistakes.

These powerful people exist and from a personal point of view, have no reason to change. The average consumer in America, however, has many reasons to change, but continues to make selfish and narrow minded choices every day (myself included). The good news is that we have other options.
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27
Jun 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS No Comments

Why Non-Stoners Should Care About Legalizing Marijuana

Why Non-Stoners Should Care About Legalizing Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana is talked about in every smoking circle at one point or another. You can only look at a beer can and a joint for so long before you ask yourself, “Why is only one of these legal?”.

The truth is there is not a single good reason to keep marijuana illegal in the US. After much research and personal experience, I have come to the conclusion that if you think marijuana should NOT be legalized, you are either highly misinformed, lying to protect your reputation, or extremely stupid.

I will not go into all the reasons why keeping marijuana illegal is a bad idea. Do a google search, talk to people who smoke, and find out the truth for yourself.

Instead, I would like to discuss why this issue is important to every American, stoners and non-stoners.
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22
May 2012
AUTHOR David
COMMENTS 15 Comments