Elena White, daughter of gubernatorial candidate Bill White, emphasizes the importance of social media during an election. Social networking websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, gather an essential component that mainstream media can lack: the attention of the younger generation.
During the 2008 presidential election, then-Senator Barack Obama started garnering support early during the election by harnessing the power of social networking. At the time, Obama’s grassroots website, Organizing for America, gathered supporters at an exponential rate, arguably because of active individuals who turned supporters onto Obama’s internet presence.
Candidates who use social networking have a much larger advantage over candidates who neglect the potential of the Internet’s reach. Viral marketing can spread information faster than a 30-minute interview that airs during a prime time slot on cable 8212; just look at Old Spice’s immensely successful Old Spice Guy campaign.
Social networking has accomplished feats that otherwise would have been impossible without the international grasp of the Internet. The 2009 Iranian presidential election protests drew attention through Twitter and the conflict in Darfur became a grassroots movement through the Internet. President Obama, the “newcomer” in Washington, gained a large following using Facebook and his own website.
Why can’t social networking do the same for politicians trying to reach a younger crowd?
Web Editor Maricruz Salinas for the editorial board.