Social media has become a major influencer in the way candidates campaign. Newark’s Cory Booker has over one million followers, and is one of the best examples of a politician successfully utilizing social media. On New Years Eve in 2010, Mayor Booker even responded to a grandson tweeting about his grandfather who needed his driveway shoveled. Booker tweeted “I will do it myself; where does he live?” And shovel Booker did, with a handful of other volunteers.
Newarks social mayor encourages political candidates to get on social media, and get on early. “Once a campaign has started, time is lost. Build the power early. After you win the office, social media usage shouldn’t fall off. It should go up. Social media is about engagement,” said Booker.
Jonathan Karush, founder and president of Liberty Concepts, pointed out that campaigning with social has yet out TV advertising as the main platform for campaigners. “The democratic utility of all the things we can do online is so much more than TV. But online is still very much about mobilizing money to buy more TV ad space. We haven’t cracked all the applications of ‘get out the vote’ online.”
Social is also used largely for getting data about constituents. Through a process Micah Sifry, co-founder and editor of the Personal Democracy Forum calls “Facebookization,” candidates are mining information about those who use their Facebook apps, including age, gender, religious views, political views, and photographs. It allows candidates to paint a picture of their targetted supporters, .
To check out the full report on Government Technology, read Digital Political Candidates Driven by Technology.
Which politician or candidate do you think is making the most of social media?