Congressional Web site takes a dive

Embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens may have caught a lot of flak for calling the Internet a “series of tubes,” but House techies today used a tunnel analogy to explain how they will handle ever-increasing amounts of traffic from people looking to learn about their representatives online. Welcome to the 21st century, guys, it’s pretty darn cool.

Roll Call reports:

The financial bailout bill — and the public’s overwhelming interest in it — may have lasting effects on the number of people who visit House Web sites and how the chamber handles that Web traffic.

As the House considered the bailout bill on Monday, constituents rushed to Member Web sites, overloading servers and slowing down access. Most affected was, which was almost impossible to load during the House’s vote.

That phenomenon, experts say, could herald a new era of increased Web traffic.

“What we’ve kind of seen historically is that when communications increase for some specific reason, they never really go back down to the level prior to that big event,” said Tim Hysom, spokesman for the Congressional Management Foundation.

Apparently House computer geeks weren’t prepared for the deluge they faced on the day of the vote, and will work to increase the size of the entrance to the House “Internet tunnel.” No kidding.

More from the Roll Call article:

“‘Imagine a tunnel entrance,’ [Jeff Ventura, spokesman for Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard, whose office handles the House computers] said. ‘Although you may have several lanes of traffic available inside, the problem we’re having now is the entrance to the tunnel can’t have 10 lanes rushing all at once.'”

10 lanes all at once? Golly gee, that’s a darn big tunnel Mr. Jeff!

Maybe I’m just a Senate snob, but as far as I remember our IT guys could do pretty much anything, anytime. Then again, maybe we just had the best office manager in Washington, and she knew exactly who to call whenever we needed something — a very strong possibility.

Now get back to work on those tubes, people!

Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governors races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small-business issues.

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