Congress Doesn't Get Big Tech and Senators Don’t Use E-mail. This Bothers Me.

From Senator Chuck Schumer to Senator Lindsey Graham, many of our elected officials continue to brag about not using email. That's concerning. Even more startling is the fact that Congress doesn't get Big Tech. The Facebook hearing last year made it clear that very few U.S. Senators understand Facebook's business. Most of the questions came from tech-challenged Senators who seemed clueless about how Facebook makes its money and even how the Internet works.

"If a version of Facebook will always be free, how do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?" Senator Orrin Hatch, the 84-year-old Republican from Utah (who also famously doesn't use email), asked early on in the five-hour hearing. Mark Zuckerberg paused a moment before saying, "Senator, we run ads." He, and his staff sitting behind him, then grinned directly at him. There's a NetLingo word for that Senator Hatch: noob.

Watch this and tell me Congress, do you really want to be laughed at by Big Tech?

Meanwhile Trump is begging Big Tech for free labor to avoid federal hirings, and because of the government shutdown, 45% of employees in the Department of Homeland Security’s newly created Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have been furloughed, in addition to 85% of workers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This all bothers me so I try to reach out and voice my concern but apparently you need to call, and not email, your legislators. I'm told even if you don’t speak directly to the lawmaker, staff members will often pass the message along in one form or another. Really? With a can and a line of string?

Congress, you cannot afford to be stuck in 1995. As Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post reminds us, the digital revolution is now decades old, affecting virtually every industry and public policy. Senators help make federal laws regulating technology, privacy, cybersecurity, and the digital economy, and for you, ignoring how everyone else in the nation communicates is a form of political malpractice. If you know little or nothing about technology in a technological age, you shouldn't be in the Senate, but if you are, then please hire a consultant like me.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
Subscribe to the NetLingo Blog via Email or RSS here