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[r29] Column: Staying current in these technological times
Start Date: 5/8/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/8/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Staying current in these technological times

Through tweets, texts and new technology, the House Republicans are keeping Hoosiers informed through the most current forms of communication. It seems as if almost everyone has constant connection to the world in the palm of their hand these days.  Here at the Indiana Statehouse, we use email newsletters, Twitter and now text messaging to keep members of our communities informed about activities and the statuses of bills in the General Assembly.
 
Embracing technology isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially since the composition of the Legislature encompasses many generations and a wide range of backgrounds. We are trying to incorporate new ways to communicate to the public and involve Hoosiers in the legislative process. I seem to fall in the middle of the generations at the Statehouse, always trying to keep caught up on all these new ways to communicate.  When I first started at the Statehouse, it was all mailed letters and phone calls.  It is rare to get either any more. Email is the primary source constituents use to share thoughts on legislation. I try to send out email newsletters regarding the happenings at the Statehouse as well, but a more constant and real-time means of communication is important.  
 
Many people are still unaware that access to every session is available online at www.in.gov/legislative, or that the House is always tweeting to keep people informed about various bills. In addition, all committee meetings, even in the interim, are available online.
 
I have to say this session that the “tweeting world” went in to full swing. Our staff tweeted as each bill was passed. Media tweeted from committee meetings, press conferences and in the House chamber. I have to admit in the beginning when people mentioned tweeting, I thought, “oh no, one more thing to keep track of, and frankly, I don't think everyone would be interested in every detail of my life.”  But, I have to admit that it is a great way to keep up with things going on as they happen.  

If you want to follow the House on Twitter, our handle is @INHouseGOP. Certain hashtags also keep you in the loop of what is going on in state government, for example: #INLegis, #INHouse or #INSenate. When a tweet is sent out with that particular hashtag, there is the option to see who else on Twitter is sending out similar messages.  
 
During Governor Pence’s State of the State address on Jan. 22, the Indiana House Republicans debuted the first ever “Tweet Seats” event.  Seats were reserved for certain members of the public to tweet during the address. Now, we are progressing even further into the technological times by sending out text messages regarding high profile bills as selected by subscribers. Each person who signs up can choose what issues to follow, so only the information that is relevant to them is being sent.
 
As noted in my previous column, a lot of the priorities we set out to do have been addressed and accomplished. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done to make sure Indiana is putting its best foot forward.
 
Being engaged in the political process is critical to ensuring the people’s interests are being represented – at all levels. By utilizing the different social media platforms and modern technologies, the House Republicans want to be transparent in our initiatives and update the public for the betterment of the state.  While this year’s session has concluded, there will be legislation that will go into effect later in the year and interim study committees commencing that will be important to stay up-to-date on.
 
I encourage anyone who is interested to sign-up for the text messaging service by visiting http://inhousegop.us. The service is free, but standard text messaging rates may apply through individual carriers. If you don’t want to receive occasional text messages, following us on our social media pages – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – all under “INHouseGOP” can be helpful to know what’s going on.
 
We certainly have moved forward in the technology world with more efficient and accessible ways to inform constituents of the happenings at the Statehouse. This weekly column is one guaranteed way to reach our community – and I am incredibly grateful for the space allotted to me by the Times – but there are other available options we’re trying out. Whether it is sending a tweet, text or email newsletter, informing the general public of happenings at the Statehouse and in the district is the number one priority for all legislators.
 
Everyone’s feedback throughout session was unbelievable. I hope to keep the dialogue going throughout the interim as we work together to prepare for next year. If you would like to get in touch with me, feel free to email me at h29@in.gov. And, if you prefer, I still accept phone calls at 317-232-9647 or letters addressed to the Statehouse: 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46204!

-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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