Fast Company

Boehner to Use Facebook to Make Republican Takeover of Congress “Must-See TV”

For the first time ever, House Republicans will stream Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony live over Facebook.

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Congressional swearing-in’s don’t usually garner much attention. A brief mention on the evening news is the most any publicity-hungry pol can hope for (other than endless haggling on audience-light cable news shows). But incoming House Speaker John Boehner (right) is about to change that. Thanks to Facebook, Livestream, and the House of Representatives’ closed circuit television feed, anyone logged in to Facebook at midday today will get to watch the Republicans take over the Congress.

“It’s important to make it easy for people who’ve gotten our huge freshman class here to watch this,” Boehner’s digital media director Nick Schaper tells Fast Company. “A lot of them are activists in social media and online. These are folks who are consuming their news on Facebook--it only makes sense to make it available to them.”

This will be the first time a House swearing in has been broadcast over Facebook. Schaper said the feed wasn’t difficult to arrange. The House of Representatives already has a closed circuit television feed. Schaper’s team will just route that to Livestream and then on to Facebook. And as with any Livestream broadcast, viewers will be able to enter in comments right next to the feed.

The feed will appear on the House Republican Conference’s “Pledge to America” page. (The Pledge to America is the conservative agenda House Republicans launched during last fall's midterm election.) The broadcast will start at noon Eastern Time and will include the vote electing Boehner to Speaker of the House (and all but done deal), the swearing in of representatives, remarks by Boehner, and the introduction of one of the first bills to come out of the Pledge to America agenda.

Schaper said it made sense to reach out to Republican supporters on Facebook. “Over the last two years, House Republicans have been looking for new ways to reach out and connect with the American people. We want to go where people are at, and they’re on Facebook right now,” he said.

Boehner has previously displayed a certain tech savvy when it comes to grabbing the political spotlight via social media. Not only is the Ohio Republican an avid tweeter. In November, he digi-crashed a White House press conference by tweeting a question about earmarks to press secretary Robert Gibbs.

[Images: Capitol: Flickr user: cloudsoup. Boehner: Flickr user House GOP Leader]

E.B. Boyd's coordinates: Twitter, email.

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