Not Your Father’s Political Campaign

More and more candidates taking advantage of social media.

By KTRH’s Bill O’Neal
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and more. Whether they’re running for President, Governor of Texas—or maybe even for County Treasurer somewhere, politicians are turning more and more to some non-traditional means of getting their messages out. In fact, most political watchers will tell you the so-called social media can make a tremendous difference.

“Just get a little bit of attention for their candidacy—help drive up their name identification and raise awareness. It’s a potent tool if it’s used in the right way—and candidates are right to make use of it” said Political Strategist Jim McGrath with He also sees another benefit.

“As opposed to paying for advertising, this is a cheap, cost-effective way to get your name out, raise your name ID. Even a couple of points can make a difference in a race” McGrath said.

Among those who have jumped on to the digital superhighway is State Representative Ken Legler—who has set up Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube accounts.

“I posted information about a lawsuit the State of Texas is involved with against the EPA over CO2 emmissions—and immediately, I got 250 responses on my Facebook” Legler said. When it comes to reaching voters, Legler said the wave of the future is pretty clear.

“Most people anymore—landlines are not out there for younger groups—they all use cell phones. What I mean by younger groups—below the age of 40—they are extremely interested in Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn—whether it is for business or personal use” Legler said.

So how might it work in a campaign setting?

“For instance, I need somebody in a part of my District to attend an event for me—I was going to go, or the person who was going can’t do it—will somebody else go for me and represent my views and my ideals? I can get a response immediately” Legler said.

While social media can even a playing field for a “grass roots” candidate taking on a big name, McGrath said the candidate must have a message that is in tune with voters attitudes.

More on social media


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