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Steve Stockman Staffer Takes Twitter Feeds Seriously

Rep. Steve Stockman’s Twitter feed, never a source of dull content, took off last week, giving its followers a series of real-time updates of the events unfolding around the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, with live tweets of scanner chatter and general news curation.

The Texas Republican, though, largely doesn’t tweet from his official feed, leaving it to his communications director, Donny Ferguson.

Many official congressional Twitter and Facebook feeds are managed by staffers, so that isn’t unusual. Still, it’s not often you see a member of Congress live-tweeting a breaking news event, particularly in the wee hours.

Ferguson told HOH that he woke up coughing Thursday and couldn’t go back to bed. So, like many people, he couldn’t tear himself away from the chaotic events unfolding in the Boston area. Ferguson began to report police scanner news out of the congressman’s official feed. He did not identify himself as a staffer. Ferguson was also tweeting from his own personal account.

It is important to note that the tone of the two feeds vary. Ferguson keeps the congressman’s pretty focused and serious, while his personal feed is a little looser and more chatty.

Ferguson acknowledged that it was a little unusual to have an official congressional Twitter feed live-tweet a police scanner and a developing news story. Ferguson also said that, because the media had gotten aspects of the story wrong so many times, he felt a responsibility to get accurate information to the congressman’s followers. 

He also explained that back home in rural east Texas his family owns a company that sells truck and trailer parts and used to provide “wrecker services.”

“So, I am used to the [police] scanner,” he told HOH. He recalled hearing about refinery explosions over the scanner, smaller than the recent West, Texas, explosion.

Stockman and Ferguson are pretty much on the same page about everything, Ferguson said. It’s not a hierarchical office at all. The two are pretty much a team in sync, he continued.

A recent tweet from Stockman’s re-election account of a controversial campaign bumper sticker (“If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted”) was the work of Ferguson, not Stockman. The congressman, of course, agreed with the sentiments, however.

When we asked Ferguson why he tweeted a picture of such an inflammatory bumper sticker, he explained that those who suffer most from violent crime are “the unarmed.”

Therefore, he tweeted the sticker “to get people thinking about the gun issue and the young.”

So that’s three Twitter feeds to manage for one guy: his own, Stockman’s @SteveWorks4You and @ReElectStockman. That’s time management for you.

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