GovBytes: Social Media a Major Campaign Tool for Political Candidates

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?

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Samuel Lovett

Cool insight Corey– “Facebookization” is a new term for me. I’ve been enjoying following Booker on twitter. Seems like he takes a lot of people, comments, and issues head-on.

Chris Cairns

Although a bit of a mouthful, “Facebookization” is a good term. This is actually a good question — which candidate is making the most effective use of social media? I’d like to see GovLoop do a metrics-driven, comparative analysis and generalize some best practices for political candidates and others as well.

John Westra

I believe Social Media will continue to grow in importance for both National as well as local political campaigns. This year marks the first year I have personally fully integrated my campaign web site using Social Media “LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT features for Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube etc. I invite fellow GovLoop members to visit http://www.votewestra.com and “Like / Share” the page, if you feel it provides the type of content and Social Media connections your Citizens / Stakeholders would find valuable. Note: This WordPress-based site design is available for purchase in a number of different color themes / skins. Feel free to contact me for details using the contact form on http://www.votewestra.com

David B. Grinberg

The 2008 Obama campaign maximized the use of social media engagement and solidified the concept as an essential communications tool for all subsequent political campaigns. I still recall how my LinkedIn connections were astounded, at first, when candidate Obama joined my network.