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rEvolutionary changes: the complex relationships between legislators and communication technology

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Newer communication technologies (CTs) will always vie with more mature technologies for the attention of time-constrained legislators. As continual advances in CT make new methods of communication available to legislators,

Newer communication technologies (CTs) will always vie with more mature technologies for the attention of time-constrained legislators. As continual advances in CT make new methods of communication available to legislators, it is important to understand how newly introduced CTs influence novel and changing legislator behaviors. The mixed-method research presented in this study provides deep insights into the relationships between legislators and the CTs they use. This study offers many contributions, among them: it effectively bridges a gap between existing Internet Enabled CT (IECT) behavioral studies on non-legislators by expanding them to include legislator behavior; it expands existing narrowly focused research into the use of CT by legislators by including both IECT and mature CTs such as face-to-face meetings and telephone; it provides a fresh perspective on the factors that make CTs important to legislators, and it uncovers legislator behaviors that are both useful, and potentially harmful, to the process of democracy in the United States. In addition, this study confirms and extends existing research in areas such as minority party constituent communication frequency, and extends the topic of legislator CT behavior into some unanticipated areas such as constituent selective behaviors and the use of text messaging during floor debates which effectively enable lobbyists and paid consultants to participate real-time in floor debates in the Arizona House and Senate.

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  • 2014