Republicans Missing Social Media Train?
In a column for The Politico, David All argues that the Republicans’ comparatively poor showing in online fundraising and presence on social networking sites like mySpace and Facebook indicates a need to catch up fast.
To head off electoral catastrophe, Republicans should take immediate steps to improve their technological game. They can begin by creating a nationwide network of state and local blogs. Democrats, after all, proudly tout their legions of “blogging boots on the ground,” which feed political intelligence back to a central outlet. From that central feed, thousands of blogs throughout the nation echo the narrative, driving news stories and changing the political landscape. Republicans can and should do the same to better tap into niche markets of supporters who are willing to fight the battle — wherever it is.
To better leverage the power of collaborative fundraising, Republicans should also follow the example of the left wings ActBlue.com. There, Democratic candidates from City Hall to the White House can create an account to direct funds to their cause. ActBlue allows its users to find supporters wherever they assemble — not just at the partys website.
While I’m still skeptical of most of the social networking sites and think mySpace is mostly for kids, Facebook and some of the others are quickly catching on among political professionals. Whether this will have a major impact on 2008, I don’t know.
Still, as Aaron Brazell argued earlier, “Social Media is the wave of the future.” Even if, as I suspect, the 18- to 24-year-olds networking on Facebook don’t turn into a major voting block next year, they’ll be 22- to 27-year-olds in 2012 and 26- to 31-year-olds in 2016. And they live online. It certainly makes sense to figure out how to reach them now.
That’s especially true when one considers the latest Pew research on youth voting trends.
Young people are increasingly identifying with the Democrats. Now, this is mostly due to genuine policy differences on military and social issues and partly due to the popularity of Bill Clinton and the unpopularity of George W. Bush than effectiveness of outreach. Still, it’s undeniable that the Democrats have done a much better job of reaching out to young activists online.
UPDATE: I swear there was a reputable survey this week that showed youth identification trending Democrat. The above study, sadly, isn’t it.