In a grounbreaking study of legislative staffers from Congress, the UK Parliament, the EU Parliament, the French Assembly and the German Bundestag conducted for Edelman, StrategyOne found that staffers regularly access digital outlets and social media to research, influence and set policy. Nearly every staffer (96%) uses online resources for public policy research, more than half (54%) reported learning of policy issues for the first time online and one in five (19%) actually changed policy positions based on information and opinions they found online.
The survey clearly identified the growing importance of digital tools for both communicating with constituents and for constituents reaching their members. They noted websites have become ubiquitous in terms of their usage and effectiveness in reaching constituents (82% feel they are effective) while other outlets have also demonstrated their positive impact - online videos (52%), blogging (46%) and micro blogging such as Twitter (22%).
In terms of the effectiveness in reaching their members of Parliament and Congress through digital means, e-mail scored the highest at 87% effective with Member's blog rated at 31%, Member's social network at 22% and microblogs, such as Twitter, at 7%.
The study found that staffers are turning to social networks, blogs and microblogs more regularly for personal usage (Facebook 60%, YouTube 52%, Personal Blog 12%, Twitter 11%) than they are for professional reasons. However, their usage patterns reflect receptivity to these tools and an opportunity to increase usage for analysis, communicating with constituents and reaching colleagues on policy issues.
For the full report, click here: http://edelman.com/capital_staffers_index.pdf