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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to teach social media 101 to fellow members of Congress

The once-a-term digital and social media learning forum was first brainstormed in 2019.

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Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, announced on the morning of Feb. 3 that she will be teaching a “once-a-term” digital and social media session for members of Congress. 

Ocasio-Cortez, a millennial whose tweets have received plenty of national attention over the last two years, first introduced the idea in January 2019, and co-led a discussion with fellow Democrat Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut to advise their colleagues on more effective Twitter strategies and how to harness the art of digital storytelling. 

The 29-year-old Congresswoman may as well have invented the delicate craft of telling stories and engaging with citizens in the digital realm. 

Ocasio-Cortez uses platforms like Instagram Live, Twitter and even Twitch, to speak directly to viewers and constituents in a way that members of Congress have rarely done before. 

On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez has amassed 12.2 million followers, exceeding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 6.9 million followers on her official account. She often hits back at critics and quickly goes viral for the spats. 

In June of 2019, Ocasio-Cortez posted an Instagram Live video to Twitter, where she emphatically stated that the U.S is running concentration camps on our southern border, in reference to the abysmal conditions faced by immigrant children and adults at detention centers. 

In the video, she called former President Trump a fascist and drew poignant comparisons between the detention centers and the concentration camps in the Holocaust, as well as the internment camps Japanese Americans were forced into during WWII.

Republican Congresswoman, Liz Cheney, responded by asking Ocasio-Cortez to “spend a few minutes learning some actual history,” because her statements were “demeaning” to the memory of the 6 million Jewish people that were exterminated in the Holocaust. 

Ocasio-Cortez, undeterred, fired back without hesitation. 

“Hey Rep. Cheney, since you’re so eager to “educate me,” I’m curious: what do YOU call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial? How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands of children at the border from the parents?” she tweeted. 

This time around, Ocasio-Cortez asked her Twitter followers to speak on what they wish they saw more of from their elected officials and to discuss examples of people doing a great job that others can learn from. 

The comments were filled with responses from a wide range of people, from journalists to law professors to everyday citizens, voicing their concerns and frustrations, as well as suggestions for how politicians can better utilize social media. 

An overarching theme among the responses was a need for more information on what is really going on with legislative affairs as opposed to tweets that have the same energy as press releases. 

Most who commented wanted to know how the politicians themselves feel about an issue, and are craving more authenticity. 

CEO of the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership,  Elizabeth C. McLaughlin, Esq., wrote “please try to get Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to stop tweeting nothing but talking points.”

Another Twitter user agreed with her and said “their tweets feel like press releases, whereas when ‘the Squad’ tweets, I feel like I’m hearing from them, not their staff.” 

Other users expressed their disappointment with politicians that spend more time explaining the severity of an issue rather than talking about what they are going to do about it, and how. 

After her first session in 2019, AOC told ABC News that her best piece of advice is to “be yourself” and write your own tweets so that they come across as genuine.” 

She may be the youngest Congresswoman, but her elder colleagues have a lot to learn from her in terms of their social media presence. 

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