Sunday, February 1, 2009

Will Barack Obama's social media success lead to other politicians using social media?

When historians look back on the success of Barrack Obama's election, they will note his use of social media tools to communicate to his electorate. Gylon Jackson, the founder of the San Antonio Blog Training Academy, said he believes more politicians will embrace the use of social media tools.

"One of the biggest reasons that Barack was elected was because he understood social media, while John McCain couldn't even use his email," he said during the San Antonio Freelance camp.

Still, there are those who have issues with a local politician who is actively blogging. Uberblogger and writer Ron Miller noted in his last blog post the furor over one Massachusetts school board member who was using a blog to share her views on a pending school closure in her district. Catherine A. Sanderson, an Amherst school board member, has a very clean looking blog which tells her constituents her views on how her district must manage the financial resources to keep schools open.

Still, not everyone believes their school board member should blog about her views. John Keins, a teacher in Sanderson's district terms her blog as "bully pulpit to further the agenda of those associated with it."

Sanderson's blog clearly details her positions on school closure and other issues involving her school district. Her constituents get her views in real time instead of waiting to get a quip from the local newspaper or a 10-second sound bite on the local TV station.

As a communications professional of over 30 years, I have to think that more politicians and community leaders will want to embrace blogging as a way to reach out to their voters. Barrack Obama's victory in the last presidential election showed how a candidate could effectively use social media tools. Now, others like Sanderson are starting to embrace social media as an effective way to communicate to others.

Sanderson's blog shows a trend that other politicians should follow while in office.  By clearly stating her views on issues, her constituents clearly see the decision making process and issues confronting her.   And, more impotantly, her blog allows voters like Keins to share their perspective on them as well.

1 comment:

Gylon Jackson said...

You never know when you are talking to a blogger if your name or quote will show up in a blog.
Case in point my name winding up on this blog. I met Matt Scherer the other day at Freelance Camp San Antonio and we had some very good discussions.
Since I am a fairly transparent and most of the time mean what I say and say what I mean it was great to be quoted for this post.
The other thing that I mentioned to Matt it is all about transparency. I think that main stream media and some aspects of the government are scared of transparency. Blogging in my opinion is the last true form of freedom of speech. Politicians will attempt to use social media but they must learn that social media is about feeling with real action and not just a fad or action.