By Megan McClure
First thing at Summit, legislators and legislative staff got down and dirty in the social media trenches as NCSL and Facebook teamed up to unveil the new Facebook Guide for State Legislators.
Eva Guidarini, Facebook's U.S. Government & Politics Outreach staff and former campaign staffer for 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, gave top tips for state legislators and provided guidance to keep Facebook profiles private and campaign and public pages open and easy for constituents to find.
Guidarini was followed by three legislative staffers who discussed how they manage social media in their legislatures. Betsy Lynch, director of media services for the Georgia House of Representatives, talked about the challenges of managing individual members’ Facebook pages.
Mara Dolan, communications director for the Massachusetts Senate president’s office, and Meg Montgomery, the office's new media manager, discussed how Senate President Stan Rosenberg has moved the Senate forward in terms of social media. Dolan and Montgomery described the development of an overall communications/social media strategy to meet their constituents where they are and engage them in the activities of the Senate.
Attendees offered ideas about how to handle hostility. One Massachusetts staffer told of her boss’ tactic of privately messaging folks who were upset on a local Facebook group to try to set up times to talk or try to directly discuss and explain his positions.
Others recommended not “feeding the trolls” and Guidarini explained how to use certain security measures to screen for profanity and other hostile communications. Facebook also had a booth in the exhibit hall where people could work directly with Facebook employees to maximize and effectively use their Facebook profiles.
Megan McClure is a senior staff assistant with NCSL's Legislative Staff Services program.