Social Media (Snapcat & Pokemon Go) in local elections

MinnPost ran a fun story on  how local candidates are using social media.

Such as SnapChat…

[Karin] Housley, a first-term Republican state senator representing the eastern suburbs, saw an opportunity. She thought the temporary, rapid-fire nature of snaps, which disappear after someone views it, is the perfect communicating tool for a campaign. With a little research, she and a group of campaign interns figured out they could create their own Snapchat filter to coincide with a certain event, like the upcoming Washington County Fair. It cost them $600 to create the filter — it uses the same design as her campaign signs — and they made it available to anyone with the app attending the fair. In the end, the filter was used 700 times and got over 12,000 views in just a few hours.

13987626_10154484533143417_2669006684786796498_oAnd Pokemon Go…

DFL state Sen. Terri Bonoff, who is running in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District this fall, used Pokémon Go to entice young volunteers to come door knocking. Bonoff staff set up a lure — a feature used in the game to draw players to a specific location — to bring volunteers to her campaign office. From there, they went out door-knocking across the suburban congressional district, catching Pokémon along the way.

“One of the things I’ve been surprised by is how many young people want to work on the campaign,” Bonoff said. “They just need that extra push. There is an understanding that I’m already with them on the issues they care about, things like freedom to marry, climate change and gun control.”

The reporter adds a note to temper the enthusiasm…

And both chairs agree that, while it’s important to use social media and data to magnify messages and effectively target resources, it’s easy to be distracted by the latest campaign app or social media strategy. Local races are still won on grassroots campaigning and face-to-face interactions. “People are tuning those other messages out and looking for more real conversations about the issues and candidates,” Martin said.

But online seems to be a good place to catch people – especially young people – it seems like these fun approaches need to progress to finding a way to have the meaningful conversations and continued interaction online…

Today, many people don’t have landline phones or cable subscriptions, so the usual tools employed to reach voters — phone banking or television ad buys — are far less effective than they once were. Young voters in particular — those between the ages of 18 and 29, an important if elusive block of the electorate — interact almost exclusively with their peers online or through their phones, on everything from Snapchat and Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

This entry was posted in Government, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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