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The worldwide explosion of social media like Facebook and Twitter in recent years gives rise to some interesting questions about what is and isn’t appropriate for politicians and other public servants who use these platforms while on the job.

On one level, it’s obviously no big deal. If House Speaker Thom Tillis sends out a tweet during a legislative day promoting some House policy initiative, it’s really no different than if his staff sends out a press release. Especially in light of the fact that Tillis’ (and Governor Perdue’s) tweets are almost certainly authored by staff, it really doesn’t raise any issues that I can see. In fact, kudos to them for at least attempting to inform the public.

But what about some other situations? What if Tillis or Perdue sends out a campaign-related announcement on their Twitter account on a workday?  That would seem to necessitate some care on their part so that we can be assured that public funds are not being used to compensate someone for such time.

And then there’s the situation in which officials and their staffers are sending out tweets or posting comments on Facebook or blogs that are mostly or completely unrelated to their jobs. For instance, during the legislative session, Read More