Case Study: Congressman Chris Stewart

By: Jef Smith

Republican Chris Stewart is a United States congressman for the Second District of Utah. He uses a variety of social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Instagram, and RSS feeds that are all interlinked, though its uncertain if all the sites are managed by him. The Congressman’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are frequently updated, seemingly by Stewart, even more so during significant political events.

Stewart directly links his Flickr, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter accounts to his .gov site that is periodically updated with favored pictures, news, videos and press releases from his staff. All the accounts were created around January 2013, right when Stewart begun his term in office and are all nicely back dropped with scenic Utah photos. Each account also lists contact information.

On Twitter, Stewart does anything that any politician would do on social media sites: tweet about participating in hearings; indicate the ballads they’ve voted on; being in photo ops or sharing photos taken of them; talking and being on shows; commenting on current events; and reaching out for public participation, like asking to share ‘horror stories’ on Obamacare. He seems to share more personal links and photos on Twitter—the photos are especially personal, as they seem to be taken from his phone. However, Stewart’s Twitter account hardly, if ever, gets any comments with only a few re-tweeting and favoriting his messages.

His FB account, however, gets a substantial amount of one-way feedback. From the same quality and quantity of material he releases on Twitter, Stewarts FB account is livelier with the public. Comments from Stewarts posts can get up to the hundreds and even more with the subcomments. Even though he encourages comments in his biography page, Stewart never responds to those comments. Traffic measured by the likes and shares can get into the hundreds as well.

             Stewart uses both FB and Twitter to indicate his political beliefs, showcase favorable news and to endorse small businesses. His Youtube channel is also frequently updated, mainly with videos of him speaking on the House floors and congressional hearings, with the average view count of around 200. Views for his channel is around 4 thousand. Stewarts Flickr account is similar; views are even lower with tags virtually non-existent. The account seems filled with random photo’s that was taken of him, but it’s hard to tell with the lack of tags.

            If I were critique his online social presence, I would encourage more transparency and frequency. Stewarts FB and Twitter accounts seem like a one-way flow of transmissions; he encourages feedback from his comments, those he never does the same. This is probably cause he manages both accounts and doesn’t have time to look over the public’s feedback. I would also recommend using more flattering photos of him for his Flickr account, as the intern taking them probably wasn’t the best photographer. It’s unclear why his Twitter account never receives the amount of comments as his FB but it would seems he is in need of a social media manager. 

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