Where Politics meets Social Media?

By: Brian Molinari

With the increased popularity of Social Media, it seems like everyone is trying to tap that resource like a secret oil well. The problem is, now everyone knows! It seemed like at first this movement was predominantly in the youth. From there, Democrats had the upper hand, but now everyone has jumped into the race.

ProjectVirginia is a conservative effort aimed at taking back some of the social media world that seems to have been dominated by Barack Obama videos and democratic blogs. This conservative blog, with the tagline: “Where politics meets social media,” is not paid for by a specific campaign or party member(s).  At its basic function, this blog-based website tells the people of Virginia whats happening in the GOP party. It has blog posts with stories about politicians and their agendas but it also has a whole lot more under the surface.

ProjectVirginia uses Twitter and Facebook statuses and comments, as well as its main blog to increase awareness about politics. They are using social media to inform and attract grown adults, making them want to support the GOP. This also works in their favor when attracting young voters and civilians. Among all blogs on the internet, ProjectVirginia is ranked 1910. That is very successful considering  they focus mostly on Virginian conservatives.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, McCain tried to launch an agenda on the web to spread word of his policies. They offered prizes and gifts for people who sent stories, links, and videos in supporting McCain across the internet. Little did they know,  they could host a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page themselves. Believe it or not, this campaign for social media support did little to nothing when compared to Barack Obama’s social media blitz.

ProjectVirginia stretches their audience out by blogging about national issues, politicians, or ideas. One of the stories on the main page was actually a blog post about the relationship between John McCain and MTV’s “Snooki”. Yes, that’s right. McCain and ‘Snooki” are Twitter friends, posting tweets back and forth wishing the reality star a happy birthday and even diving into issues like taxes on tanning salons. This culture jam, mixing a former presidential candidate with a current reality tv star is something that has spawned from the current social media outbreak. In the past, there would be no communication between two people of these types. Now with Social Media, politicians can seek out new supporters by connecting with celebs through social media.

Websites and blogs like this should become more popular and they are finding out how to reach the emotions of party supporters. Politicians are realizing that they need to tap this well of untouched riches. Blogging is a great way to connect with new voters and old supporters. It offers easy ways to connect your blog with any other social media outlet, such as twitter and facebook. This social media barrage can help politicians spread the word about their policies, local gatherings, and also can be used to spread stories that may drum up support for their conservative cause. The blog offers up to the second access, and always has a place on the web for citizens to look at it now or in the future.

Resources:

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/11/03/snapshot-of-presidential-candidate-social-networking-stats-nov-2-2008/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/06/AR2008080603589_pf.html
http://www.wikio.com/sources/projectvirginia.com-HhOOo
http://projectvirginia.com/mccain-snooki-resume-tweeting-over-birthday/
http://twitter.com/projectvirginia

Vote for @BarackObama!

By: Kimberly Cervone

It has been noted by hundreds of observers that President Barack Obama has an impeccable presence on the Internet, through social media. The role of social media and the Internet played a huge role in Obama’s success during the presidential campaign, post-inauguration and still today. “Obama decided that he wants to make social media tools a permanent part of his political strategy.” [1] Obama’s promise to the people was to be an easily accessible president through social media. His image and ideas were all over Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and the blogosphere.

Barack Obama joined Twitter in April 2007 prior to the election. During the campaign there was an abundance of Twitter use by Obama, he updated his account at least once a day with news, information and videos.  Soon after his inauguration the @BarackObama account seemed to be less of a priority and the @WhiteHouse account became the main focus. The Obama Team tweets constantly from this account.

 

Obama’s usage of Facebook and MySpace during the campaign was to reach out to Obama’s social media followers. “Barack Obama has made history with his Facebook/MySpace usage.”[2] Since MySpace has slowly become less used as a site in general. His Facebook updates are still flowing with newsfeeds, videos, links, and pictures. Barack Obama is the number one most “liked” page on Facebook. Obama’s inauguration was posted on Facebook, and was viewed by millions of people.

During the campaign Obama used YouTube to add touching stories and to give people a look at his personal life behind the scenes. These efforts were beneficial because they were both personal and very active. Although Obama does still use his personal account, most of the posts come from the user The White House Channel. Practically, every day a new video is posted, whether it is his weekly video addresses, live video press conferences and town halls. These are much more effective as easily accessible visuals, then a simple radio address. These videos have certainly increased his social media press conference.

During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, both candidates had a strong blogging presence. Post-inauguration, Obama worked from two primary blogs Organizing for America Blog, and The White House Blog. The Barack Obama Team frequently updates both of these blogs. However, it has been discussed on numerous sites that the people see a personal post from Obama himself every now and then, rather then his team.

Barack Obama’s use of social media has been phenomenal.  He started with a strong online presence, and his image continues to flourish. With the help of his team, Obama will be remembered for his great quantity of social media use.

 

Resources:

Ostrow, Adam. “How Will President Obama Use His Massive Social Media Influence?” Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <http://mashable.com/2008/11/05/obama-social-media/&gt;.

Parr, Ben. “Obama: Does He Pass the Social Media Test?” Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Web. 10 Nov. 2010. <http://mashable.com/2009/07/04/obama-social-media-scorecard/&gt;.