Campaigns these days can no longer just rely on advertisements and direct mail to deliver a message. They also need to have a quick-fire presence on the Web.
That aforementioned statement is not necessarily revolutionary. Campaigns have utilized the Web as both a messaging tool and an opposition research mechanism for more than a decade.
But with more and more people getting information about politics and politicians through the Web, the demand is high for manpower to update Twitter pages, fill Facebook pages, manage e-mail lists and organize YouTube videos.
For instance, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced—via, of course, Twitter—that Blue State Digital’s Alex Kellner would be joining her re-election campaign as a digital director. The Missouri Democrat joked that in hiring the Boston native, she’ll have to “overlook that Red Sox/Patriot thing.”
McCaskill is gearing up for a tough November race, in a tight race with all three of her potential Republican rivals.
Incumbents aren’t the only candidates getting into the act. Tech President noted that Frontenac businessman John Brunner had hired a company that worked for former Utah Gov. John Huntsman presidential campaign to oversee digital strategies. And Rep. Todd Akin (R-Wildwood) also has an aide that focuses on social media.
And of couse, social media isn’t just being used for local campaigns. The St. Louis branch of Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign has utilized its Facebook page to organize supporters before the start of the March 17 caucuses.
The Texas congressman—who had a high-mark of sorts this week when he came in second place in the Minnesota caucuses—has been tapping into web support for the last few years. Back in 2007, Paul's name was one of the most searched terms in the United States.
Even people who aren't on the ballot this year are getting into the act: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) announced Wednesday that he’ll answer questions from Twitter followers in a web video. As noted before, Blunt has commonly used new media apparatuses – such as YouTube – to articulate his messages.