Rep. Anthony Weiner may actually have made a positive contribution to our political discourse.
In the wake of his career-suicide-by-social-media gaffe, the number of tweets issued from lawmakers has dropped sharply. Congressional tweets declined by 29 percent between May 9 (before we all got to see Weiner’s infamous underwear shot) and June 8, according to TweetCongress, an organization dedicated to encouraging lawmakers to tweet. In fact, congressional tweets per day peaked at 1,150 just before the Weinergate, then bottomed out at 279 the day after the scandal broke, and have never completely rebounded.
Then again, we’re probably not missing much. Even though politicians have taken to Twitter with the same fervor as tweenaged Justin Bieber fans, lawmakers rarely have much to say in their missives. Researchers from the University of Maryland plowed through more than 6,000 Twitter postings by members of Congress back in 2009 and found most tweets were either boastful or self-promotional. (We could have figured that out in a mere 3,000 tweets.) Some 80 percent of the tweets were status updates or links to flattering media coverage; only 7 percent involved interacting with citizens.
Of course, Rep. Weiner showed us that politicians can interact too much with citizens. And though most political tweets are far less cataclysmic than the racy photos Weiner shared with the world, plenty of other elected officials (or would-be elected officials) have had their own misadventures in the Twittersphere. The following 10 politicians will embarrass, offend, confound or, at the very least, amuse you--all in 140 characters or fewer.
The 9 Craziest Things Michele Bachmann Has Ever Said (Business Insider)
Jon Stewart: ‘The Anthony Weiner Story Officially Became Sad’ Monday Afternoon (Business Insider)
Some Twitter Advice for Politicians in the Post-Weiner Age (Huffington Post)