Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Limits Of Social Media

As I've been thinking about the panel that I will be a part of, in which we will be talking about social media's role in the Wisconsin protests, I've been paying particularly more attention to the workings of the various types of social media.

This turned my memory to a particular subject, namely the limitations of the social media, especially in the events of recent months or in getting people motivated enough to actually go out and do something, particularly when the weather is less than friendly.

This brought me to a post written by a friend on the very subject, which reflects a write up I did for a training earlier this year. The whole post is interesting and a worthy read, but for my purposes, I would point out this section:
Friendraising and public relations are great, but campaigns are won and lost on the streets. Knocking doors, appearing in town halls, and attending community events are how candidates are able to meet the people and give them the ability to put a face to a name. Candidates that are well-known and have special interest involvement in their campaigns have a distinct advantage in this area, as they can put more "boots on the ground" both in terms of numbers and times of day/week. To match those numbers, the power of social networking must be brought to the table. As with public relations, word-of-mouth through social media platforms gets the need and necessary information out to a large number of individuals in a very short period of time, which allows those people to pass along the word. People who know you (either virtually or in real life) are more apt to brave the weather during spring campaign season (signature gathering in December, campaigning in January and early February) and will stay in contact in between events than those who are motivated by organizational self-interest.

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