Monday, November 8, 2010

How to: Make Tom Barrett's journey not end here

Tom Barrett’s last Facebook Page update reads:
Congrats to Scott Walker. Thank you to all of our amazing supporters and volunteers that never stopped believing in Wisconsin. This journey does not end here.
Updated last Tuesday, via mobile.

When you go to Barrett’s Facebook Page, you’re not taken to the info or wall tab – you’re taken to the Final Push! tab, where you can donate to Barrett’s campaign.

The problem is, it’s been about a week and we’ve only heard from Barrett twice since his defeat in the state gubernatorial race. The problem is, the Final Push! tab is explicitly says, ‘There are just a few more days until Election Day!’ and that’s not true.

Do you believe him when he says the journey does not end here? I don’t.

I had multiple friends working on the Barrett campaign, but I didn’t participate in flyering or giving handouts in library mall. The best I did to support Barrett before the campaign was take in his text message alerts, which I think everyone can agree, are a bad idea to opt into for any political campaign.

So I support Barrett, and I realize he is defeated, and the employees that were likely updating his blog, Facebook status and Twitter feed are probably busy looking for new jobs.

But if the Barrett campaign really wants the public to believe that the fight’s not over, that there’s still work to be done and there’s progress that can be made, they’re going to have to step it up a little.

Barrett put up a blog post entitled, ‘Thank you’ on November 4, the last time we heard from his campaign. The message the post tries to send says, I’m going to keep working for you all, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get our goals accomplished.

An admirable message, yes, but what steps should and could he be taking now that the campaign is over?

Take a few days to recover, then get back in the game!
It’s common knowledge that Gen Y eats, sleeps and breathes social media, so if Barrett wants to mobilize us in the future, the best time to start is now! Why? People are a lot more willing and less suspicious of supporting someone when that person isn’t asking directly for their help. If Barrett started tweeting like a maniac and giving his supporters concrete ways to remain active, he would give off a much less ‘defeated’ impression than he does now.

Facilitate conversation – on the blog and on the Facebook Page.
Users don’t want a one-way stream of updates from the people they follow – they would read a newspaper if they wanted that - no, they want to be engaged. Ask questions, encourage people to talk, and actively respond to questions people ask of you. With 18,558 Facebook fans and 1,707 Twitter followers, there are a lot of Barrett supporters who have already proven to be socially savvy on the web compared to their peers – why not engage and mobilize them when you need them least?

Most of all, do what you’re telling them to do. You know, practice what you preach.
Cultivating a mentality and a culture that is positive about the future of the state, Barrett can empower his supporters to share in his positive attitude so they will be well-equipped to face challenges when spreading his message.

I believe these tactics will pay off later, if/when Barrett does employ them or something similar, when he or other candidates have a dedicated, tech-savvy reserve of supporters who are ready to spread the Barrett gospel for him.

1 comment:

  1. I agree Leia. I feel as though politicians are realizing the impact social media can have, but only in reference to voter turnout and activism. I think that establishing relationships with individuals on Twitter and Facebook well before bombarding them with campaign slogans would be more effective. As social media in politics is still in its infancy, this will most likely be a necessary trend that politicians will realize in the near future.

    Another important point you make is that "users don't want a one-way stream of updates." One major flaw I have seen on many political social campaigns is a lack of actually conversation. Of course, the politician can not engage with every follower, but honestly, interns and other lackeys are in charge of the social media and they should be able to generate two-way communication. Social media provides perfect publics that candidates can crowd-source for public opinion, concerns, and maybe even campaign ideas.