A reason to applaud Congress
It’s been a rough couple of weeks with the debt ceiling negotiations dominating the media and negative public sentiment at an all time high. So, I want to call attention to a little gem of a report that was released this week which may lift your spirits.
In their #SocialCongress report, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) shared some really great research about how quickly our elected officials have adopted Social Media as a channel for communicating with and listening to their constituents. Considering that the word “luddite” could accurately be used to describe Congress’s pace in adopting technologies like websites and email communication, this is remarkable news.
A lot of the report’s findings are not terribly surprising, such as the fact that younger staffers and early adopters are much more likely to see value from social network communications. But, since Convio sponsored the report, I had a chance to participate in a Q&A session with CMF and there are several great takeaways from this report that grassroots advocacy organizations can put to good use as they start (or expand) the way that they engage with elected officials via social networks.
On the other hand, Twitter’s retweet functionality better supports this kind of campaign, so I’d argue that it’s not a terrible idea to pursue that approach there. Families USA’s recent campaign is a great example of how an org might go about doing that.
I’d be remiss in my duties as an advocacy product manager if I didn’t point out that Convio Advocacy has recently added new tools to help you run grassroots campaigns on social networks. Our Representative Lookup tool includes links to officials’ pages on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And, in the release coming out in August, you’ll also be able to personalize emails and webpages with this content. To get the most out of your next action alert, you might consider personalizing the thank you page with links to where the activist can go to “amplify” their message on their Rep’s Facebook wall.
At the end of the day, all this new technology is bringing greater opportunity to grassroots organizations who are ready to think outside the box about how they conduct campaigns. For those of you who are still having trouble convincing luddite organizational leaders to invest resources in social networks, I’ll arm you with one final piece of information. A report released recently by the Pew Internet and American Life Project tells us that Facebook users are more politically engaged than the average American. In particular, compared with other internet users a Facebook user who visits the site multiple times per day is two and a half times more likely to have attended a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to have tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 43% more likely to have said they voted or intended to vote (compared with non-internet users: 5.89 times more likely to have attended a meeting, 2.79 times more likely to talk to someone about their vote, and 2.19 times more likely to report voting). So, get out there and fish where the fish are!
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