Senator Charles Grassley
Q:What is Twitter?
A: Twitter is a free online networking service that lets users send and read short messages. You can follow posts on twitter.com, even if you don't post yourself. Twitter first began as a way for people to keep up and stay connected with friends, family and co-workers. As the site became more popular, users moved beyond the social interaction and began to use this communication tool for all sorts of applications. In June, Twitter allowed Iranians to keep in touch with the outside world after the Iranian government blocked other lines of communication in response to election protests. The United States government even asked Twitter to postpone maintenance on the site to keep information flowing through posts at twitter.com. Q: Why do you use it? A: I use Twitter to keep in touch with Iowans. It's a way to describe what I'm working on as their U.S. senator, to make a point in the public policy debate, and to try to foster greater citizen participation in the process of representative government. I "tweet" from my Blackberry and use abbreviations to get as much information across as possible, given the 140-character limit on Twitter messages. Along with Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and webcasts, blogs and vlogs on my own website (http://grassley.senate.gov), Twitter is an online technology that helps me communicate with Iowans in the way that I've worked to do since I was elected to represent our state in the U.S. Senate, starting with going home on the weekends. Since 1980, I've held a constituent meeting in every one of Iowa's 99 counties at least once every year. I respond to every postal letter, phone call and email I get from Iowans. I meet with Iowans visiting Washington, whether they're at work, on a family vacation, or part of a student group. I respond to requests for information and give interviews to the news media, who are an important part of the process of holding elected officials accountable to those they represent. I answer questions on any subject on radio and TV call-in programs on a regular basis. And I enjoy the opportunity to have dialogue with Iowans through telephone-town hall meetings each month. Whether it's Twitter, the town hall, the TV or the telephone, the idea is to answer questions and listen to and understand the points of view of Iowans.