Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) launched his own custom social network yesterday, using the Ning platform.  In and of itself, this isn’t particularly notable.  Lots of politicians have launched their own Ning networks.  However, in every case I know of the focus of the socnet has been on winning elections, and the networks have been launched under the banner of a campaign web program. 

Ryan has done something entirely different here.  His network was built as an extension of his official House web presence, and is a tool for him to communicate openly with his constituents.  Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but I believe Ryan is the first House or Senate member to launch their own social network for the purpose of connecting with their constituents.

Rules for web communications in the House and Senate are notoriously archaic, so the fact that Ryan was able to launch this strikes me as a significant step.  It will be interesting to see how the network does, and if others follow Ryan’s lead. 

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.