Facebook’s Town Hall Feature Just Revolutioned Digital Activism

Earlier this week Facebook launched something called Town Hall that makes it easy for you to find and contact those who represent you at every level. Town Hall is awesome.

Here is a rundown of what it puts at your easy disposal.

FIND YOUR REPS

This is pretty straightforward, all you do is plug in the address where you vote and Facebook compiles the list of who represents you, from President down to city councilman.

 

FOLLOW YOUR REPS

With one click you can follow the pages for everyone that represents you. You don’t need to ‘like like’ your electeds to like and then track them online. I fear this might give another leg up to incumbents, (in 2016 97% of incumbent US Congressmembers who won reelection, and there is data pointing to a correlation between FB followers and electoral success.) Luckily for Mark Zuckerberg, he already has over 87,000,000 Facebook followers which could help him if the seemingly infinite rumors of his impending presidential bid turn out to be true.

 

CONTACT YOUR REPS

This is where Town Hall gets cool. Facebook lists traditional ways to contact them; their office address and phone number; but also allows you to contact them without even leaving Facebook. In fact you can message them within the app.

My dream of an instant response from my governor on Facebook Messenger unfortunately was not to be. I sent a message to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office asking a simple question and instantly got a reply. At first I was excited. Then I read it “Thank you for your message. To contact the Office of the Governor, please visit www.governor.ny.gov/contact.” and that was super lame. Subsequently I have messaged my congressman about non-political matters (I complimented him on his mustache and asked for grooming tips) and hope his office responds soon!

 

SET UP VOTING REMINDERS

In the top left corner of the page there is a prompt for you to receive reminders about upcoming elections in your area. I have mine checked to “on” and would advise you to do the same.

 

LOCAL FLAIR

This is a hidden trick within the Town Hall toolkit – there now is a way to indicate that you live in a representative’s district when you comment on their posts. If an elected official is responsive to their constituents, this feature will help them prioritize which comments to respond to, and which to ignore. To turn this on just leave a comment on your representative’s page, then click the arrow on the right of the post that you normally would use to delete or edit your comment and then select “Show District.”

Tell your friends!