Monday, January 7, 2013

Social Media & Local Politics

Article on about social media & local politics
Remember when you were a teenager, and you were confronted with a decision or change you had to face? You did not want to do it. But your parents would say "Son, you are old enough to ..." or "Daughter, you have procrastinated this long enough so get it over with now..." Ring a bell?

Call me a technology parent or whatever you will, but my patience is about to grow very low for adults - of any age - who say "I want to influence things! I am frustrated that things won't change! I need to get their attention, etc, etc" but will say in the next breath "but I don't 'get' that technology thing. I don't have time to learn. You can't teach an old dog new tricks..." Patience? Gone. It's time for you to deal with it and master technology - or else quit complaining that the Millennials don't get the conservative message.

I've just gone through this fascinating article on social media and local politics. I've been engaged in technology for awhile - and there are some delightful morsels it exposed to me! There are new tools leaders are trying; new horizons they are pursuing; and new formats they are embracing.

I'm not a JFK baby so I did not remember this but wow! It's a good historical moment to take note of!

"And just as a youthful John F. Kennedy benefited from his grasp of television in the 1960 elections, a new generation of local politicians is using its tactical advantage as digital natives to woo the electorate and launch open government initiatives."

A 25 year old mayor out of NJ, Alex Torpey is utilizing technology for the good of the local constituents.

"...Torpey also deploys Instagram to promote local events and Foursquare to announce his whereabouts to constituents. He's exploring crisis mapping platforms to initiate SeeClickFix for municipal services, and he's interested in trying, a means to promote voter registration and engagement among the young."

My plea to learn technology is not just based on a 5th grade "Join the cool kids club" popularity contest. But it is becoming the apparatus in our war of ideas, and battle for control of the market places. The article continues:

"University of Washington professor Philip Howard (currently a fellow at Princeton) notes some new research on how different politicians approach digital media. "Republicans tend to use digital media for coordinating their message, broadcasting out content that has been drafted from senior campaign officials, and policing each other's political values," he observes. "Democrats tend to use digital media for engagement, conversations, and sometimes slip up because they debate and don't stay on message as well. Professional campaign managers at all levels dislike social media because using it results in some loss of message control.""

You see, it's not just a 'cool resource' but it's a resource that can be used for bringing change. But the change comes through us the users who then utilize the medium. The medium cannot speak for itself. Even if you are not pumping forth messages of truth through these technology mediums, the opposition is. The younger generation has already "gone there" to the tech world. And if you won't follow, please don't complain as to why the Millennials (and younger!) have not stayed behind to listen to your message.

And this statement rests my case:

"'s useful to recall that it's still the early days of this movement. None of the most influential social networks in question –- Facebook, Twitter or YouTube — have reached their tenth birthdays, while Pinterest and Foursquare are still in their infancies. As digital natives make their way in the world, social media will continue to overhaul American democracy in new and unexpected ways..."

It is possible that the future of our nation rests not just on whether the next generation of leaders understands and embraces conservatism and traditional family value philosophy but instead, whether you are ready with a narrative that is in their lingo, using a medium that they understand.