Though Republicans are often portrayed as behind Democrats on the new media frontier, times are changing. After last year's election of a Democrat President, Republicans have stepped up their game. The Hill featured an article yesterday spotlighting Republican efforts in this area, specifically the formation of the House Republican New Media Caucus, headed by Rep. Bob Latta (OH). The Caucus holds frequent briefings on up and coming technology that can be used effectively among Members of Congress to reach out to their constituents.
The latest effort was an online tool called Amplify, which gained notoriety when the House Republican Conference hosted the Republican Reading Room to allow Congressman an opportunity to read the Pelosi Health Care before it was voted on. Several members used Amplify to spotlight parts of the bill.
Read an excerpt of The Hill article here:
Reps. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and John Culberson (R-Texas) helped launch the New Media Caucus and organized a summer visit to Silicon Valley. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has a YouTube channel and uploads his podcasts to iTunes.
“Social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have become an indispensable component of House Republicans’ efforts to communicate our better solutions to the American people,” Boehner said. “The Web allows us to not only deliver a clear, unfiltered message directly to the public, but also serves as an open forum where we can receive feedback from our constituents.”
Boehner, who took his own trip to Silicon Valley, said his blog — gopleader.gov/blog — received thousands of comments and questions about healthcare alone last week.
Some recent gubernatorial races also successfully used social media tactics. Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell’s campaign in Virginia, for example, had 31,000 fans on Facebook, compared with the 200 fans of his opponent Creigh Deeds. The campaign hired an online strategy team that used video, blog posts, e-mail, mobile, Facebook updates, Twitter and an online action network on Ning “to create an echo chamber around the campaign’s message,” said Mindy Finn, a partner at Engage, a political media firm that handled online strategy for McDonnell’s campaign.