The social networking scene has heated up significantly in the past two years, and we’ve already seen stories in the newspaper about candidates for Simi Valley City Council and Simi Valley Mayor using these new channels to spread the word. Tools like Twitter and Facebook offer simple and virtually free ways to get your message in front of voters.
If there’s one tool that I highly advise all candidates to take advantage of, it’s Facebook. There’s a lot more to Facebook than just creating a Facebook fan page. The creators of Facebook have also developed an API (application programming interface) which allows you to directly tie in to their platform with your own tools. That means, if you’re a candidate and have a website, you can tightly integrate your website into the Facebook platform.
As Facebook becomes more and more popular, and starts to possess the greater share of the market, the service will be challenged by critics (and already has) regarding ownership of content and privacy. However, if you really dig in to the tool set that Facebook offers and research the history and growth of the company, you may respond like I did and learn to respect the enormous value Facebook has to something like a political campaign. I highly recommend to all candidates (and to all business owners) a book called The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick. The book explains the humble beginnings of Facebook, its rapid growth, and its new place in what is referred to as the “social graph” on the internet.
I’ll be keeping a banner/link to The Facebook Effect for the duration of the summer through to election day for those of you who are interested. I think what we’re seeing this year is a really great start and I suspect that these social tools will be enhanced and well utilized over the next two years.