On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan will host the first live Facebook Q&A conversation from the speaker’s office, adding another accolade to his digital résumé.
For the series debut — aptly titled “Between Two Speakers” — Ryan will sit with former Speaker Newt Gingrich to field questions from Facebook users and a live audience of congressional interns. According to an aide in the speaker’s office, the two will discuss such issues as the House GOP agenda, the 2016 presidential race, and other news of the day, making for the first public dialogue between a sitting and former speaker in recent memory.
The forum builds on the expansive digital profile Ryan has crafted since taking the gavel in October. The speaker’s office has seen a 20 percent growth in Twitter followers, according to the aide, and claims the most followers on Instagram of any House member (he’s got 16,700 — which, compared to his 64 own follows, makes for an impressive follower-to-following ratio).
And along with live-streams of all press briefings, Ryan, when not chatting up Kanye West, has also embraced the art of the hashtag: Since delivering his first major address as speaker in November, his team has affixed #ConfidentAmerica to news on bill signings and other ceremonial affairs.
The speaker has also toyed with GIFs, which is important, and which you can find here.
It’s a buzzy time for Ryan’s Facebook broadcast with Gingrich, both on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail. Ryan made waves on Tuesday morning when he issued his most direct broadside yet against Donald Trump, condemning — though not by name — the Republican front-runner’s refusal to denounce David Duke and the KKK. With Gingrich’s candid assessments of the race thus far — he recently took to Twitter to argue that Trump “has clearly disavowed the racist” — the two will certainly have much to discuss.