Thursday, February 21, 2013

Local-level pols adopting Obama's social media tricks

The skillful use of social media (Facebook, Twitter and emails) by Barack Obama's team produced great fundraising and voter-turnout results in both of his presidential campaigns. The lesson was not lost on other officeholders and candidates, including those at the state and municipal levels.

A smart way to stay in touch with constituents.

New Jersey Assemblyman Joe Cryan sent the email below alerting his constituents to a timely vote (today in the State Legislature) on a hot topic (gun control).

Setting aside the politics of gun control and focusing on the value of the communication vehicle, we see it serving several purposes:

  1. Brand Building Cryan's letter reminds constituents who he is and where he stands on an issue of significant public interest.
  2. Lobbying It makes a case for the Assembly's legislative solutions and asks constituents to pressure members of the NJ Senate to act on those bills.
  3. Media Attention Reporters who read Cryan's email in advance may consider calling him for comment in the stories they'll file on the Assembly's gun-control debate.
  4. Fundraising Winning public office and staying there takes money. Notice the "Donate" button?  

Fast and efficient
Prior to the dawn of social media, elected officials had to print and mail letters to constituents. Using email, Facebook and Twitter is much more efficient and costs practically nothing. And because most social media vehicles provide for replies, a politician can take the pulse of voters through almost immediate feedback.    


Dear Friends,

In the President's State of the Union address, President Obama implored Congress to take action on numerous gun safety measures proposed as a result of the tireless work of Vice President Biden and the task force he oversaw. "They deserve a vote" was the President's plea. I can proudly say to you today that while the United States Congress may be dragging its feet on the President's request, the New Jersey General Assembly is not. That vote is coming today.
Today the General Assembly will take-up a package of gun safety measures that will include measures to improve school safety, reduce maximum capacity of magazines to 10 rounds, restrict ammunition purchases by known criminals, expand background checks to include certain mental health records in the background check process, and bar individuals on the Federal Terrorism watch list from being able to obtain a firearms identification card or a permit to purchase. These are not extreme measures meant to take away individuals' Second Amendment rights; these are common sense proposals to make our communities safer in the wake of countless and unnecessary gun violence happenings.
If you're like me, and believe that enough is enough, I ask you to join my campaign. Follow our efforts on Facebook and Twitter. Let your voice be heard. While much will be accomplished today, the New Jersey Senate still needs to take action on these vital pieces of legislation. Contact your State Senators and let them know that YOU deserve a vote.
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan


Are your local officials reaching out to you via social media?  What's your reaction? Are you a public official or candidate who is experimenting with social media? If so, we'd love to hear from you. What have you implemented so far? How is it working? What's next? Let us know in the box below or email us at:   


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