Electronic communications flood Congress
According to a recent report by the Congressional Management Foundation, Congress received four times more communications in 2004 than it did in 2005, with all of the increase emanating from Internet-based communications. During this decade, notwithstanding the exponential increase in communications, staffing levels at Congressional members' personal offices did not change. The number of communications received by Congress reached a phenomenal 200,388,993 in 2004....
[Not 200,388,992. Not 200,388,994. But exactly 200,388,993!]
In spite of the deluge of electronic communications, 79% of Congressional staff recognize that the Internet has made it easier for citizens to become involved in public policy, and 55% believe that the Internet has increased public understanding of the workings of the federal government. Furthermore, 48% believe that the Internet has made members of Congress more responsive to their constituents.
I admit to being a fairly prolific slacktivist. Every year I send dozens — if not over 100 — messages to government officials, mostly from sites and e-mails generated by the likes of ACLU's and Amnesty International's online action centers. Every time I send one unmodified, or even only slightly modified, I feel a little bit guilty about not writing the whole thing from scratch myself, because I know they look like mere form letters to staffs. Which is exactly what they are. But I console myself by saying that it's more effective than doing nothing.