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Abstract

This article explores the World Wide Web homepages of members of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 and 2001, focusing specifically on what the content posted to these sites suggests about their ideal audiences. Despite considerable changes in the content of business, entertainment, and political campaign sites over this five-year time period, we found few notable changes in the Congressional.gov pages over time. Moreover, the pages harbor particular assumptions about audiences that depart from other forms of Congressional communications and lag far behind the interactive innovations found in political campaign sites. These findings lead to suggestions for the creation of sites that are more in line with the potential the medium presents for the online public.