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Incoming Speaker Boehner Facebook-Streams House Handover

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, January 4 2011

Wednesday, the 5th of November, is, of course, the day that Nancy Pelosi hands over the speaker's gavel to John Boehner (figuratively, at least). And the latter's office just annouced that they'll be sending out live video of the moment through Facebook, as part of their work to make the U.S. House of Representatives a more functionally open institution. Here's a bit of the blog post announcing the streaming:

Tomorrow, House Republicans will live stream the opening session of the 112th Congress - including the swearing-in ceremony and remarks by Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH) - on the Pledge to America Facebook Page. The House will convene and the stream will go live at 12:00 p.m. ET.

This is the first time an opening session of Congress has been broadcast live on Facebook where visitors can interact and discuss the event with others, and offer feedback directly to elected representatives.

Livestreaming of this particular democratic episode isn't, ripped from its context, perhaps all that noteworthy. C-SPAN will be doing the same. But the connotation of the moment, bolstered by the social environment supported by Facebook, is that this House, this new House, will be a more participatory, two-way institution than its counterparts of the past have been. Asked what "offering feedback directly to elected representatives" might mean, in practice, Boehner new media director Nick Schaper offers this: "Members, including the Speaker Designate, like to spend time on Facebook reading comments and interacting with friends and supporters. The Pledge to America Facebook page is a conference-wide effort. You can count on members and staff closely following what goes on there." Stay tuned.