Facebook Catalyst for Bridging Political Interests
We all have opinions about the big issues and most of us don’t mind sharing them. How would you like to have your thoughts on important political topics posted on a billboard in New York’s Times Square? You just may have your chance!
In a New York Times article a new Facebook application was highlighted called 2012 Matters: What Matters most. According to reporter Tanzina Vega, “Starting this week, Facebook users will see poll questions in their newsfeeds asking them which of two issues matters more — say, the economy or the environment. When a user answers the question, the result will show up on that user’s personal news feed and on friends’ newsfeeds. The friends also will be prompted to take the poll… Data showing which issue is most important to users in each state will be posted across the street on the Nasdaq digital billboard.”
The motivation behind this idea was brilliant: the purpose was to create interest and start discussions with people who are not engaged in politics with those who are. Combine this with executive vice president and chief technology officer at R/GA John Mayo-Smith’s idea that “we’re at the intersection of social media and branded event advertising” and you’ve got an impressive link between social awareness and marketing strategies. Furthermore, “Facts don’t spread. Emotions do spread,” said Paul Adams, a brand experience manager at Facebook, in a presentation before the group. “We need to think about what an interaction looks like in that environment,” he said, referring to Times Square.
This is a perfect instance where non-profits can follow the example of the for-profit world. This strategy could get people involved in national and global issues and emotionally invested. Getting people to stop and think about a cause and then getting them to engage with others is the first main hurdle that any non-profit tries to scale. Add to the mix the millions of people on Facebook, and this could spread like wild fire.
Fundraising via social media is by far the most effective and efficient way to further a cause, and this is one extreme example of how to reach millions of people to take notice. While probably less than 99% of charities have the resources to rent space on a Times Square billboard, most can invest a little time and effort into connecting with their supporters online.
Facebook Changing the Political Landscape
The times are definitely changing. No longer are buttons that say “I Like Ike” or traditional door-to-door canvassing enough in the campaign world. In these times of fast-paced media, iPads, laptops and iPhones, candidates are turning to social media to gain approval and public support from voters.
Laura Phelps writes in the Miami Herald that many local and presidential candidates are putting a lot more stock into social media sites. Consultant Josh Koster, a managing partner at Chong and Koster, a progressive digital-media communications firm, said “campaign budgets used to be about two things: raising money and spending it on TV. But this year’s budgets reflect today’s new media market as more Americans go to the Internet for news. This is the first major election cycle that online strategy is receiving a large media budget for advertising.”
Michael Beach, a co-founder of the Republican digital-strategy firm Targeted Victory, estimates that approximately 25% of a candidate’s budget is designated for online strategies. He believes that while social media won’t fully replace commercial spots and voter recruitment campaigns, it will continue to have a larger role in the upcoming election and beyond.
Phelps brings up some interesting figures when it comes to politics and the internet. She states that, “60 percent of all U.S. adults and 76 percent of U.S. adult Internet users are on Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.” Furthermore, “22 percent of adults online used social networking sites such as Facebook to connect with campaigns or learn about the election.”
“Facebook and social media make it much easier to organize to raise money and to engage supporters because successful campaigns ultimately are about social organizing,” said Andrew Rasiej, a co-founder of techPresident, a blog that covers how candidates use Web technology. “If a political conversation is happening on Facebook, then to be able to donate where the conversation is happening is key.”
Obviously Facebook and Twitter aren’t just affecting how people are socializing, but it also is impacting the political world and how voters are choosing to support their candidate. Fundly is proud to be a part of this monumental change on the electoral horizon with so much emphasis on social media, and we are excited to participate as a democracy and technology partner together to reach the masses. We have several candidates using our social fundraising platform to reach their supporters, collect donations, and we would love to come aside your campaign to help you achieve your potential.