2021 RI General Assembly Social Media Rankings

See how your lawmakers match up with others in their efforts to communicate and interact with Rhode Islanders online

Why We Rank Social Media Outreach

Voters express feedback towards their elected officials in various ways, but social media has fast become a powerful tool of engagement for constituents. It used to be the case where if you wanted to reach out to your elected officials, you picked up the phone or sent them an email. Ultimately, though, these interactions were hidden from public view. The popularity of social media has ushered in a new era where constituents are able to directly communicate online with their government representatives, in a public setting. While there are still some holdouts who inexplicably have no online presence at all, social media has fast become the norm for how constituents share quick takes with their representatives in government. State lawmakers must meet voters where they are - and quite often that means on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Our rankings here hope to highlight which members are doing their best to engage with voters via social media and the web.

Summary of Findings

Our research showed that social media usage trends more popular based on the youth of the lawmaker, with the overwhelming majority of those under 40 making heavy use of the medium to communicate with constituents. On the other hand, five senators and five representatives have absolutely no online presence at all - no social media or even a website. We found that discouragingly, most lawmakers do not respond at all to comments made on their social media posts, but more did so on Facebook where anonymity and trolling are not as big an issue as on Twitter.

Shockingly, nearly half of all members of the General Assembly have no website, drastically reducing small donations from average Rhode Islanders. Unsurprisingly, this correlated with members who a) rarely have election opponents and b) are not funded by small donations. We were equally surprised to find so many lawmaker websites were noticeably outdated, often talking up bills and even coming elections that are years past. Again, the majority of younger legislators exceeded the website metric with mobile-ready sites (which will be part of the ranking criteria next year) that presented information where voters expect to see it. 

This year, we included each member's follower counts for Facebook and Twitter. These are not part of the member's rankings, however follower counts do provide insight into who the more popular legislators are at the General Assembly. We found that lawmakers who posted regularly tended to have high follower counts.

Post to Facebook Regularly

General Assembly:

42%

Senate:

61%

House:

32%

Post to Twitter Regularly

General Assembly:

46%

Senate:

47%

House:

45%

Do Not Have a....

Facebook Page

12%

Twitter Profile:

31%

Website:

49%

How We Tested Social Media Usage

We focus on the two most widely used social media platforms for information sharing: Facebook and Twitter. We do not include Instagram due to its photo-based nature and rare usage among legislators. For the two social media platforms, we chose a specific day in March of 2021 as the end date and measured all applicable activity dating back six months from that date. Last year we measured the six month prior to October, but in years where new legislators are elected, we use the Oct-Mar period to include new members' activity both during their campaign and after election.

For our 2nd annual Social Media Rankings, our metrics have gotten stricter but still do not make it a burden to do well. New this year, we required profiles be intended for constituents and for Facebook contain minimal contact information (phone + email). Minimum posting requirements are relatively unchanged in quantity but legislators now earn more credit for posting more recently.  Lastly, we eased up a little on response requirements, allowing members to get some credit for responding to at least half of comments that warranted a response. As with last year, if the member showed a consistent effort to engage with most meaningful responses, we gave them credit for doing so. New this year, we no longer required responses to comments from a select number of known "trolls" who post hundreds of often belligerent and/or off-topic comments to legislators without expectation of a response.

Lastly, we checked to see if each member had an active website that showed up in the first 10 results on Google (most did), and required that an email address and phone number be found somewhere on the homepage with bonus points if it's towards the top. If the website did not show up in the top 10 results on Google when typing "[Representative/Senator][Person's name]", it was disqualified because a website serves no purpose if constituents cannot easily find it.

Top Senate Social Media Stars

1.

Sam Bell

District 5 (Elected 2018)

93

#1 ranked in social media for 2nd straight year

Nearly perfect score

Detailed, candid responses to both positive and negative comments

Senator Bell nearly achieved a perfect score again this year, despite stricter requirements. Again, Bell dominated social media among his peers, with deep analytical posts and thoughtful responses to nearly everyone that commented. His website was up to date and featured a prominent banner with his phone number requesting constituents contact him for COVID-19 help.

1.

Jeanine Calkin

District 30 (Elected 2020)

93

#1 ranked in first year back in office

Nearly perfect score

Helpful, polite responses to nearly all applicable comments

Senator Calkin joins Bell atop the rankings in her first year back as a state senator. While Senator Bell's social postings tend to discuss specific policies and bills, Senator Calkin focused her posts more on direct action and political events of importance with frequent calls to action. Her responses to comments were polite, sincere, and helpful.

Swipe left to see ratings

SenatorDistScoreFBFPFRTWTPTRWSFFTFFTW
Bell593235235814553576https://www.facebook.com/sambellforstatesenate/https://twitter.com/samuelwbellhttps://www.sambellpvd.com/
Calkin309323523589832834https://www.facebook.com/jeaninecalkinrihttps://twitter.com/jeaninecalkinhttps://www.jeaninecalkin.com
DiMario36771352354935640https://www.facebook.com/Alana4RIhttps://twitter.com/AlanaDimariohttps://www.alana4ri.com/bio
Anderson316713523247411083https://www.facebook.com/kendraandersonrihttps://twitter.com/KendraForRIhttps://www.kendraandersonri.com
Goldin36313023289713816https://www.facebook.com/SenatorGayleGoldin/https://twitter.com/gaylegoldinhttps://www.gaylegoldin.com
Kallman156323523048671592https://www.facebook.com/ElectMeghanKallmanhttps://twitter.com/MeghanEKallmanhttps://electmeghan.com
Cano860230230815772527https://www.facebook.com/SandraCanoforPawtucket/https://twitter.com/sandriscanohttps://sandracano.weebly.com/
Euer1360135230410252635https://www.facebook.com/ElectDawnEuer/https://twitter.com/DawnEuer/https://electdawneuer.com/
Mack657130230812853609https://www.facebook.com/MackDistrict6/https://twitter.com/MackDistrict6https://tiaramackdistrict6.com/
Murray24571302308815686https://www.facebook.com/MurrayforRIhttps://twitter.com/melissamurrayrihttps://murrayforri.com
de la Cruz235323223043700493https://www.facebook.com/SenatorJessicadelaCruz/https://twitter.com/jessicaforrihttps://www.jessicaforri.com/
Lawson14502302008645600https://www.facebook.com/ValLawsonEP/https://twitter.com/val_lawsonhttps://valarielawson.com/
Mendes185023523009791680https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaMendesRI/https://twitter.com/Cynthia_Mendes_
Coyne325013520048561103https://www.facebook.com/CindyCoyneForStateSenate/https://twitter.com/CindyCoyneRI/https://cindycoyne.com/
Acosta164723023047081121https://www.facebook.com/Acosta4RI/https://twitter.com/MrAcostruthhttps://www.jonacosta.com
Valverde354723023048941467https://www.facebook.com/Bridget4RI/https://twitter.com/bridget4rihttps://bridget4ri.com/
Gallo274013521001015765https://www.facebook.com/HannaGalloForSenatehttps://twitter.com/hannagallo27http://www.senatorgallo.com/
Raptakis33371002008853287https://www.facebook.com/State-Senator-Leonidas-Lou-Raptakis-149467978503637/https://twitter.com/louraptakishttps://leoraptakis.com/
Pearson193310023049241225https://www.facebook.com/voteryanpearson/https://twitter.com/ryanwpearsonhttps://www.ryanforri.com/
Archambault223323020033794223https://www.facebook.com/StephenArchambault/https://twitter.com/senarchambaulthttp://archambaultforstatesenate.com/
McCaffrey293323023007211297https://www.facebook.com/SenatorMcCaffrey/https://twitter.com/senmccaffrey
Ruggerio43022023009122584https://www.facebook.com/SenatorRuggerio/https://twitter.com/SenatorRuggeriohttps://www.ruggerioforsenate.com
Miller2830230000414611758https://www.facebook.com/senatorjoshmiller/https://twitter.com/senatormillerrihttp://www.joshuamiller.org/
Paolino172323020001400819https://www.facebook.com/SenatorPaolinohttps://twitter.com/ThomasJPaolino
Morgan342323020002111746https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Senator-Elaine-J-Morgan-689257677825665/https://twitter.com/elaine4senator
Sosnowski37231300003570-https://www.facebook.com/sosnowskiforsenate/http://suesosnowski.com
Seveney11201002003331633https://www.facebook.com/Jim-Seveney-732054346922779/https://twitter.com/jimseveneyhttp://www.jimseveney.com/
DiPalma122010023001241352https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Senator-Lou-DiPalma-178023805545641/https://twitter.com/senloudipalma
Burke9172000003196-https://www.facebook.com/John-Burke-for-State-Senate-District-9-West-Warwick-Rhode-Island-105328304541070/https://www.votejohnburke.com/
Lombardi261712020001201188https://www.facebook.com/SenatorFrank26https://twitter.com/frankslombardihttps://www.senatorfranklombardi.com
Ciccone7132002000336110https://www.facebook.com/senatorfrankcicconedistrict7ri/https://twitter.com/senatorciccone
Goodwin11010020006491152https://www.facebook.com/maryellengoodwinri/https://twitter.com/MaryellnGoodwinhttps://www.goodwin4ri.com
Quezada2101002000258218https://www.facebook.com/anabquezadaforstatesenatedistrict2/https://twitter.com/anastatesenate2
Felag1000000000--
Picard2000000000--
Rogers2100000000--
Lombardo2500000000--
Algiere3800000000--

Key

Excellent OK Poor

Key / Scoring

Score is the combined total of all rank factors, scaled to 100. The maximum possible score is 100. The lowest possible score is 0. Point values are assigned based on the effort and degree of difficulty involved for a member of the General Assembly to meet each requirement. Points for individual metrics have been converted to color-coded arrow symbols for easier readability.

Facebook Profile (FB) - 2 points if their official page displayed their email and phone, 1 point if it did not.

Facebook Posts (FP) - Members must have made at least 10 posts (shared posts do not count) in the last 6 months to qualify. 3 points if most recent post was in the past month, 2 points if it was within the past 3 months, and 1 point if within the last 6 months.

Facebook Replies (FR) - Members must have received and responded to at least 10 applicable comments in the last 6 months to qualify. Members received 5 points if they responded to at least 80% of applicable comments to their posts on Facebook, and 2 points if they have responded to at least half of all applicable comments.

Twitter Profile (FB) - 2 points if their Twitter profile is used primarily to communicate to constituents (over half of posts), 1 point if it is mostly personal in nature.

Twitter Posts (FP) - Members must have made at least 10 posts (retweets do not count) in the last 6 months to qualify. 3 points if most recent post was in the past month, 2 points if it was within the past 3 months, or 1 point if within the last 6 months.

Twitter Replies (FR) - Members must have received and responded to at least 10 applicable comments in the last 6 months to qualify. Members receive 5 points if they responded to at least 80% of applicable comments to their posts on Twitter, 2 points if they have responded to at least half of all applicable comments.

Website (WS) - To qualify, website must be in the top 10 results on Google when entering lawmaker's name preceded by "RI Representative" or "RI Senator", and members receive 3 points if so. Additionally, 4 points are awarded if both their phone # and email address are shown on the homepage (web forms and links do not count), another 2 points if this contact information is above the fold (towards the top of the page), and another 1 point if their social media profile links are displayed on the homepage.

Scores above 70 are considered "Excellent", scores between 40 - 69 are "OK", and scores below 40 are considered "Poor".

Top House Social Media Stars

1.

Marcia Ranglin-Vassell

District 5 (Elected 2016)

77

#1 ranked Representative in social media for 2nd straight year

Positive, inspirational posts and responses

Honest and candid discussion on many issues Rhode Islanders face

Representative Ranglin-Vassell is one of the more prolific users of social media, with an array of posts, often daily, on important events, Rhode Island happenings, the struggle many people in poverty face, and other important issues. She also does not shy away from tough comments, with thoughtful responses drawing on personal experience. 

2.

David Morales

District 30 (Elected 2020)

73

#2 ranked in first year in office

Detailed, informative posts on both Facebook and Twitter

Very current and informative on events and need-to-know items for his constituents.

In Representative Morales' first year in office, and even prior to his election, he has made a name as a Representative with a pulse on the community, keeping his constituents informed daily on important news and events they should know about, in addition to detailed posts advocating for positions he supports.

Swipe left to see ratings

RepDistScoreFBFPFRTWTPTRWSFFTFFTW
Ranglin-Vassell577235235314992786https://www.facebook.com/marciarvassell/https://twitter.com/MranglinVassellhttps://www.marciaforri.com
Morales773135230810572307https://www.facebook.com/DavidMoralesRI
Cortvriend7267230230105791396https://www.facebook.com/TerriCortvriendforStateRep/https://twitter.com/terricortvriendhttps://www.terricortvriend.com/contact
Ruggiero7467230230105911067https://www.facebook.com/RepDebRuggiero/https://twitter.com/RepDebRuggierohttps://debruggiero.com/
Potter166023023083271808https://www.facebook.com/BrandonPotterRIhttps://www.brandonpotterri.com/
Felix61602302308668827https://www.facebook.com/leonelafelixRI/https://www.leonelafelix.com
Knight67602302308663856https://www.facebook.com/jasonknightri/https://twitter.com/rep_jasonhttp://www.jasonknightri.com/
Kislak45713023086601975https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaforRepRI/https://twitter.com/rebeccakislakhttps://www.rebeccakislak.com/
Tanzi3457200232818452954https://www.facebook.com/RI-State-Representative-Teresa-Tanzi-151848324871275/https://twitter.com/tanzisterhttp://www.teresatanzi.com/
Carson7557230200106781071https://www.facebook.com/laurenhcarson/https://twitter.com/laurenhcarsonhttp://www.laurencarson.com/
Alzate605322223505591293https://www.facebook.com/KarenDistrict60/https://twitter.com/karen_alzate26
Kazarian6350222230411501641https://www.facebook.com/katherine.kazarian63/https://twitter.com/repkazarianhttp://www.votekazarian63.com/
Casimiro31471352300637619https://www.facebook.com/JulieCasimiroForNorthKingstownAndExeterRhodeIsland/https://twitter.com/juliecasimirori
Filippi3647230230428612385https://www.facebook.com/BlakeAFilippi/https://twitter.com/blake_filippihttp://blake36.com/
Chippendale40470002309-2223https://twitter.com/MikeWChiphttp://www.repchip.com/
Henries644722523005961054https://www.facebook.com/bhenriesri
McGaw71472302304486734https://www.facebook.com/MichelleMcGawDistrict71http://www.mcgaw4ri.com/
Fenton-Fung1543125230019141506https://www.facebook.com/BAFentonFunghttps://www.bafentonfung.com/
Morgan2643130230432574106https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaforRIhttps://twitter.com/repmorganhttps://www.repmorgan.com/
Shalcross Smith4643230220460391https://www.facebook.com/MaryAnnShallcrossSmithforRepresentative/https://twitter.com/massforrephttps://friendsofmaryannshallcrosssmith.com/
Place474313023041301351https://www.facebook.com/davidjplacehttps://twitter.com/davidplace01
Donovan694313023046761038https://www.facebook.com/sdonovanbristol/https://twitter.com/sdonovanbristolhttp://www.susan-donovan.com/
Caldwell3040130230310591486https://www.facebook.com/justine4rihttps://twitter.com/Justine4RIhttp://www.justine4ri.com/
Cassar664012023046901436https://www.facebook.com/cassarridistrict66/https://twitter.com/lianacassarhttps://www.electliana.org/
Lombardi83720023043958283https://www.facebook.com/JohnLombardiForProvidence/https://twitter.com/JohnJLombardiRIhttp://www.reelectjohnlombardi.com/
Williams93710023504971199https://www.facebook.com/repanastasiawilliams/https://twitter.com/rep_williams9
Lima1437100235082879https://www.facebook.com/CharleneLimaRI/https://twitter.com/charlenelimari
Vella-Wilkinson21372302004691577https://www.facebook.com/VellaWilkinson/https://twitter.com/vellawilkinsonhttps://www.vellawilkinson.net/
Serpa273710023506141181https://www.facebook.com/Patricia-Serpa-for-State-Representative-189776574384665/https://twitter.com/reppatserpa
Craven32372302004698675https://www.facebook.com/RepCravenhttps://twitter.com/RepCravenhttp://www.votebobcraven.com/
Speakman68372302004613685https://www.facebook.com/repjunespeakman/https://twitter.com/junespeakmanhttps://www.junespeakman.com/
Baginski17332000008131-https://www.facebook.com/Jackie4Rep/https://jacquelynbaginski.com/
McEntee333323023009131019https://www.facebook.com/CarolHaganMcEntee/https://twitter.com/repmcentee33
Fellela43332302300510229https://www.facebook.com/State-Representative-Deborah-Fellela-108654577599620/https://twitter.com/repdfellela43
Newberry483323023009022030https://www.facebook.com/Representative-Brian-C-Newberry-124211177592590/https://twitter.com/BrianCNewberry
Shekarchi23270002303-2439https://twitter.com/JoeShekarchihttps://joeshekarchi.com/
O'Brien5427120230015161145https://www.facebook.com/Rep-Bill-Obrien-551746691654868/https://twitter.com/OBrien2018forNP
Tobon582720020049881286https://www.facebook.com/CarlosTobon/https://twitter.com/carlostobonhttp://www.carlostobon.com/
Edwards70272002004703224https://www.facebook.com/RI-State-Representative-John-G-Edwards-460010474047699/https://twitter.com/repjay70http://elect-jay.com/
Batista12232002300526819https://www.facebook.com/BatistaforD12/https://twitter.com/jfbatista12
Shanley24231002004930807https://www.facebook.com/shanleyforwarwick/https://twitter.com/evanshanley1http://www.shanleyforwarwick.com/
Ackerman452320023007581515https://www.facebook.com/MiaForRep/https://twitter.com/miaforrep
Amore6523200230010061271https://www.facebook.com/votegreggamore/https://twitter.com/greggamore1
Roberts292020000041263-https://www.facebook.com/repsherryroberts/https://twitter.com/sherryroberts29https://www.repsherryroberts.com/
Giraldo56202301000636389https://www.facebook.com/RepresentativeGiraldo/https://twitter.com/joshuajgiraldo
Blazejewski2171001003750780https://www.facebook.com/Chris-Blazejewski-For-State-Representative-116647348370550/https://twitter.com/cblazejewskihttp://www.chrisblazejewski.com/
Hull6170001004-137https://twitter.com/rayhullrihttp://www.rayhull.com/
Azzinaro37172000003699-https://www.facebook.com/VoteSamAzzinaro/https://www.samazzinarori.com/
Lima49171000004517-https://www.facebook.com/RepStevenLima
Marszalkowski52171001003572201https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Marszalkowski-for-State-Representative-District-52-1536175773355369/https://twitter.com/alexdistrict52http://alexdistrict52.com/
Ajello1131000003501-https://www.facebook.com/RepAjello/http://edithajello.com/
Diaz111320020006111180https://www.facebook.com/RepGraceDiaz/https://twitter.com/repgracediazhttps://www.repgracediaz.com/
Solomon, Jr.221320020001053246https://www.facebook.com/SolomonForRephttps://twitter.com/rep_solomon
Biah3101002000709291https://www.facebook.com/NathanBiahDistrict3https://twitter.com/NathanBiah
McNamara19101002000656635https://www.facebook.com/repmcnamara/https://twitter.com/ridemchair
Fogarty3510100200062581https://www.facebook.com/Kathy-Fogarty-State-Representative-District-35-491031404258002/https://twitter.com/kathy35sk
Hawkins53101002000217178https://www.facebook.com/hawkinsfor53/https://twitter.com/rhawk53
Perez137200000089-https://www.facebook.com/Ramonperezforstaterep13/https://ramonperez4staterep.wixsite.com/ramon
Handy18710010003861866https://www.facebook.com/HandyforStateRep/https://twitter.com/artbhandy
Bennett2072000000382-https://www.facebook.com/DaveBennettRN/http://joinbennett.blogspot.com/
Nardone2872000000300-https://www.facebook.com/RI-Representative-George-Nardone-District-28-Coventry-187057288560423/
Quattrocchi4171100000824-https://www.facebook.com/RI-Representative-Bob-Quattrocchi-520079718194245/
Casey5072000000405-https://www.facebook.com/stevecasey2020
Barros5972000000388-https://www.facebook.com/RepBarros/
Abney7372000000370-https://www.facebook.com/RepMarvinAbney
Slater1031000000639-https://www.facebook.com/ScottSlaterRI
Noret2531000000339-https://www.facebook.com/Thomas-Noret-for-State-Representative-District-25-2066767520263382/
Price3931000000705-https://www.facebook.com/JustinPriceRI/
Costantino4431000000106-https://www.facebook.com/RepGregCostantino/
Phillips5131000000265-https://www.facebook.com/Representative-Robert-D-Phillips-623957427619322/
Kennedy3800000000--
Cardillo4200000000--
Corvese5500000000--
McLaughlin5700000000--
Messier6200000000--

Key

Excellent OK Poor

How We Rank

Score is the combined total of all rank factors, scaled to 100. The maximum possible score is 100. The lowest possible score is 0. Point values are assigned based on the effort and degree of difficulty involved for a member of the General Assembly to meet each requirement. Points for individual metrics have been converted to color-coded arrow symbols for easier readability.

Facebook Profile (FB) - 2 points if their official page displayed their email and phone, 1 point if it did not.

Facebook Posts (FP) - Members must have made at least 10 posts (shared posts do not count) in the last 6 months to qualify. 3 points if most recent post was in the past month, 2 points if it was within the past 3 months, and 1 point if within the last 6 months.

Facebook Replies (FR) - Members must have received and responded to at least 10 applicable comments in the last 6 months to qualify. Members received 5 points if they responded to at least 80% of applicable comments to their posts on Facebook, and 2 points if they have responded to at least half of all applicable comments.

Twitter Profile (FB) - 2 points if their Twitter profile is used primarily to communicate to constituents (over half of posts), 1 point if it is mostly personal in nature.

Twitter Posts (FP) - Members must have made at least 10 posts (retweets do not count) in the last 6 months to qualify. 3 points if most recent post was in the past month, 2 points if it was within the past 3 months, or 1 point if within the last 6 months.

Twitter Replies (FR) - Members must have received and responded to at least 10 applicable comments in the last 6 months to qualify. Members receive 5 points if they responded to at least 80% of applicable comments to their posts on Twitter, 2 points if they have responded to at least half of all applicable comments.

Website (WS) - To qualify, website must be in the top 10 results on Google when entering lawmaker's name preceded by "RI Representative" or "RI Senator", and members receive 3 points if so. Additionally, 4 points are awarded if both their phone # and email address are shown on the homepage (web forms and links do not count), another 2 points if this contact information is above the fold (towards the top of the page), and another 1 point if their social media profile links are displayed on the homepage.

Scores above 70 are considered "Excellent", scores between 40 - 69 are "OK", and scores below 40 are considered "Poor".