Social networking has become so prevalent in society that even politicians and elected officials use it communicate with constituents. Unfortunately, they tend to use it in a dry and almost "safe" way - sticking to an unwritten script of stating a position on an issue, thanking supporters/asking them to help support a campaign, piece of legislation or friendly candidate, and sharing information about issues the candidate is working to promote or support.Those of you that follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or have been reading my blog for the last several years (yes, I am well aware that my blogging has slacked off to no end as my posting and tweeting increased), know that I will be absurdly candid, bordering on irreverent, when it comes to my comments. And while that may give political consultants justifiable pause, for me, it's simply an extension of who I am - for better or worse.
11th District state representative John Fritchey, however, breaks that mold. Fritchey is famous for his Facebook updates - in fact, he's pretty well known for embracing social media applications, from Twitter, to Facebook, to yes, even Blogger.
But the point that I tried to convey in the article is that I think the key to maximizing both the intention and the value of social media in the political arena is to use it to let the public see more of who you really are as opposed to simply repackaging the canned messaging that they get all too often from their elected officials.
I know elected officials with Facebook pages and Twitter accounts who likely couldn't turn on their laptop if their lives depended on it; they have staffers handle everything. In my mind, that not only defeats the whole purpose, it actually sends just the opposite message from the one you want to convey.
How's this for a radical concept? If you want to look like you actually like interacting with the public, try interacting with the public. But do it yourself.