Have you ever thought to yourself, “Boy, I wish I could tweet my support for this political decision, but I just can’t think of the right words to show my appreciation for this idea?” Is the notion of typing 140 characters to register your approval of a bill headed to Congress too daunting a task? If so, then help is at hand, as the White House unveils the “Tweet For Jobs” tool.
All it takes is your email and street addresses, as well as your ZIP code, and the tool will automatically find your local Republican legislators, tweet them directly in support of President Obama’s American Jobs Act and invite your Twitter friends to do the same thing. Voicing your democratic opinion couldn’t be any easier…well, as long as it’s a Democrat democratic opinion, of course.
The tool allows you to choose from a variety of ready-made tweets, including “Will you stand with @BarackObama and vote to pass the American Jobs Act?” and “I’m one of your constituents, and I’m urging you to pass the American Jobs Act now to strengthen our economy.” If you live in an area that doesn’t have a Republican legislator, don’t feel left out; the tool will just tweet your message to Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, instead.
While I’m in favor of (a) democracy in general and (b) seeing outreach from political parties to give voice to those who don’t usually have one—even if, in this case, it may be through apathy as much as anything else—I’m unsure how productive this tool will be as anything other than a PR exercise and a way to spam Republicans’ Twitter accounts. Doesn’t sending multiple tweets with exactly the same verbiage cut down on the impact of said tweets and risk commodifying the fight to get the bill passed?
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.