President Barack Obama won the election in part due to a superior get-out-the-vote operation that again included a sophisticated social media strategy. But how will social media platforms be used in future elections, especially at the state and local levels? Reporter Laura Barron-Lopez from The Orange County Register interviewed me on the “new normal” of social media campaigning.
The following is an excerpt from her article “After campaigns, lawmakers still use social media” on the website of The Orange County Register:
“Social media played a minor role in 2008, a bigger one in 2010 and even greater in 2012,” said Messner. “The concept of social media will not go away. It’s a different step because it incorporates TV and print.”
And as for those who criticize the platforms based on their ability for outreach, Messner says the new media aren’t fading away. Facebook is still the most important for campaigns because everyone from high school students to grandmas have pages.
“Facebook is much more personal, much more powerful,” Messner said. “Twitter is more of a marketplace, and the message is much less personal but more broad, like a town hall.”
Messner asserts that the 2012 election was decided by the turnout of certain voter groups that were specifically targeted by the Obama campaign on their social media accounts. The role it plays at the local, state and national level will only be greater in 2014 and 2016.
“As tight as political races are today, social media can make all the difference,” Messner said. “This is true at the national level, but also in state and local races. Especially candidates with financial disadvantage can take advantage of social media to effectively reach their audiences.”