By Louis Casiano
Published January 17, 2019
As the youngest member of Congress, it's no surprise that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has used social media effectively in her campaigning and in her first weeks as a member of Congress. Now she's offering other House Democrats a chance to learn the techniques she has used.
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, and slightly older U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., will pair up to teach the “most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling,” at a Thursday session hosted by the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, according to reports.
Ocasio-Cortez confirmed Wednesday on -- where else? -- Twitter that she would be teaching the class.
“Perks of being in the Democratic Caucus: I will be teaching a Twitter class tomorrow morning open to all members,” she tweeted to her 2.43 million followers.
The planned lesson in social media comes as the generational divide between older members of Congress and their younger colleagues grows wider. Hearings last year highlighted the chasm when some lawmakers didn’t understand how social media platforms made money or what they do.
"The older generation of members and senators is pretty clueless on the social media platforms,” said Himes, 52, who boasts 77,700 followers on Twitter. “It’s pretty clear that a lot of members have 25-year-olds in their offices," running their social media.
Himes said he made a deal with his staff that he can manage his own Twitter account unless he’s consumed more than two beers, USA Today reported. Tweets about body parts and what he learns from the House Intelligence Committee are verboten. The former stems from once tweeting about his sweaty scalp after eating spicy chili.
Josh Hawley, the youngest U.S. senator at 39, said he sees a disconnect between the generations and their understanding of technology.
“For younger members, they think of social media as every bit of an established form of communication as print or television or radio," the Missouri Republican told the paper.
Ocasio-Cortez, a House freshman, uses Twitter frequently to state her policy positions, share opinions and call out her opponents, attackers and the media.
The decision to invite her to share her expertise could signal the Democratic Party’s attempt to bring in fresh voices, even those who don’t always agree with its leadership, USA Today said.