On Nuance

I’ve been thinking a lot about nuance lately. I feel that it is the absence of care towards nuance that has fundamentally changed the nature of media circulation. Without nuance, there is little room for clarity or debate, and the absence of nuance results in over-inflated summaries that force people to make simplified claims about […]

Conducting Research With Congress

I wrote up my thoughts after a discussion with Kathy Goldschmidt at CMF about my experience conducting research with Congress. Our goal is to expand on this information with other academics to help the Congressional Management Foundation make recommendations to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Researching with the U.S. Congress – Sam’s […]

The Member Online All-Star Competition

This past month, the House majority leader Steny Hoyer announced the Member Online All-Star competition. The goal of this competition is for Members of Congress to gain as many followers on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube) as possible in the span of three weeks. See the action here. Social media is very useful […]

In Support of Academic Cold-Emails

This is something that I often feel like I’ve often felt people don’t do enough in academic: cold emailing. Ah, yes. Emailing people you don’t know and asking them for help. *GASP*. The Horror… Too many people feel nervous about rejection or feel too uncomfortable asking strangers for help. But in my experience, cold emailing […]

I’ve been Tweeted!

This past December, I published my work on understanding staff perceptions of constituent communication. That work was shortened into a post on the Leg Branch Capacity Working group website, and re-tweeted by my funders, the Democracy Fund. I’ve never been tweeted before ( I don’t even use a Twitter) but it feels great to see […]

A Quote On Technology

“When a company has a buggy release, the company is experimenting and learning. When the government has a buggy release, it is a sign of incompetence.” – Stephanie Rickler Schulte From United States Digital Service: How “Obama’s Startup” Harnesses Disruption and Productive Failure to Reboot Government

New Report Published

Just this week, I officially completed a white paper that details the findings from my research I did this summer on the Hill. Here are the main findings I discuss in the paper: 1. The primary uses of policy-related constituent correspondence are to formulate outgoing communication and to monitor constituent sentiment. This finding is reflected in […]

The Problem With Constituent Correspondence. Is Technology to Blame?

Citizen contact to Member offices has consistently predicted Member’s legislative behavior and perception of the district [1]. However, recent systemic research finds very little evidence that office contact from constituents is meaningfully conveyed to policymakers [2]. This is an insightful and important finding to anyone interested in how constituents can influence Members. However, the research frames […]