Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Shouting Into The Internet Void Is Pretty Much That

"[A]ccording to the Congressional Management Foundation, the House of Representatives got 99,053,399 messages via the Internet in 2004. That's 227,708.9 messages per member of Congress. If a member took an average of 30 seconds to thoughtfully read each email they received in 2004, it'd take them 79 days solely to read their mail from the Internet. For a member of the Senate it's worse: 288 straight 24-hour days worth of constituent communications at 30 seconds a piece. Most people don't spend that many hours awake in a year."
In which Math helps persuade us into believing even more firmly that online petitions don't really do much in the way of swaying legislators' opinions. (I would hazard a guess to say that you could swap out "legislators" with "executives at the TV network that canceled your favorite show" in the previous sentence, although the math might be a bit different.) The important thing? Those petitions are pretty effective for the organizations that create them, as far as harvesting e-mail addresses and being able to have trumped-up "follower" numbers and, of course, serving as a gateway to hitting said addresses' owners up for donations! So the loser is, once again, your inbox. [Via]

4 Comments / Post A Comment

Ah, the case for unpaid interns at the federal level grows ever the stronger.

Clio (#3,719)

Yeah–that presumes that legislators read any of their mail, ever, when they pretty much don't. Or position papers, or often even legislation itself. That's what the STAFF is for. So someone is logging the emails and letters coming in from the district and then merely reporting, "it's 3-to-1 against."

It's the same with the networks–believe me, they know what people are writing in about. And to be honest, by far most of the stuff they get isn't organized protests by someone upset about show cancellations, but organized email and fax spams about morals. I used to work at the ad agency of "a major advertiser" and the piles of stuff they got every time they advertised a product in Saturday Night Live or a show that took the Lord's name in vain was stunning.

barnhouse (#1,326)

They may only hear the results as a dull roar but it's still worth it.

doubled277 (#2,783)

Who weeps for my inbox?

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