With just two weeks before the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration are now scheduled to take effect (two months later than originally planned), organizations concerned about what those cuts could do to various agencies are stepping up their outreach and lobbying. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is urging its members to reach out to its members today—via Twitter, oddly enough.
“The AAS asks all members to take a moment today to contact their members of Congress,” the organization notes in a blog post. AAS is part of a 3,200-member coalition of organizations called NDD United that is seeking to avoid the cuts sequestration would impose on non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending. Interestingly, the post emphasizes outreach using Twitter, offering sample tweets people can use, pasting in the Twitter handle of their senator or representative. (One sample: “Remember [insert member twitter handle], over 3200 groups want you to say #NoMoreCuts to discretionary investments! http://bit.ly/11Bzd0t #sequester”)
It’s not clear, though, that outreach via Twitter will have much influence on members, given it, like email, is so easy to use and abuse. The post, in fact, notes that “email is not an efficient way of communicating with Congress” and recommends that AAS members that don’t use Twitter to use phone, fax, or letters instead. Tweeting can’t hurt, but it may not help much, either, and space advocates seeking to stop sequestration should only begin, and not end, their efforts with a 140-character plea.