Dear Politicians, You’re Doing It Wrong…


This post is very much a departure from what this blog is, but I feel strong enough about this that I feel compelled to write about it.

Has anyone else checked out these so-called social media accounts of politicians?  Whereas there are many politicians that I fully support and would like to help out, I am continually turned off by the fact that I struggle to find even one that does more than just barely show up.  They are having a great time of talking at us and have yet to learn how to talk with us.  I am sure many of them are thinking that social media is not worth it and use their follower counts to demonstrate the laziness of this new culture.

We are not lazy.  We want to help you.  We want to help amplify your voice.  Why won’t you let us?  Is it because you are scared of what will happen when you lose control of your message?  You already have.  Look at the countless websites, fan pages, blogs, etc that are out there.  If you are putting yourself out there publicly, you are being talked about in a way you may or may not like.

Is it because you are afraid of what will happen when you don’t put out a carefully crafted message?  I understand that worry, but I also think you need to understand something else: That carefully crafted message is no longer resonating with anyone.  We feel the fact that you have gone through several focus groups, have had many communications professionals and the top minds in politics today come up with what will hit home with the general public best.  We are uninterested and tuned out long ago because of this.

Am I asking you to speak Twitter language and tell us every thought that goes on in your head?  NO!  What I am asking you to do is to get a social media strategist onto your staff in either a professional or volunteer capacity to teach you how to talk to us and then come up with a fully integrated plan to do so.  Will this be easy?  Once again, no.  A good professional strategist will give you a plan that will a first seem time consuming and maybe even silly.  Give it time though and you will see that it very much integrates into the rest of your life.

Now, let me talk just a bit about what will happen if politicians don’t start heeding this advice.  There was a time where politicians only talked to their constituents in-person or via the radio.  And then the television came along.  I think we’re all familiar with how the Kennedy-Nixon Debate changed the landscape of American politics.  Technology changes things and in a big way.  Social media is reigning in the contest of the most authentic.  Those that don’t take up this challenge and believe in the power social media gives you will be left behind.  And worse, they will not be guaranteed that second chance that Nixon had.  And at this point, it is more of a question of when rather than if.  So who is ready?

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3 Responses to “Dear Politicians, You’re Doing It Wrong…”

  1. robchristianson Says:

    So true! For the last month or so, I’ve been working with an internet startup called Vote iQ – a social media platform to connect politicians and voters directly and facilitate discussions between them. Think Facebook + LinkedIn + Politics. The official unveiling will be at the Personal Democracy Forum next week and I have the feeling it’s going to be huge. They have some big political names from both sides of American politics behind them. You should definitely check it out – the call for Beta Testers is going out within the next day or so, I believe. http://www.voteiq.com

    (And for the record, I’m pretty sure I started following you before i started working here – not BECAUSE i started working here.) =)

    • decillis Says:

      I wonder if a new platform is the answer though. Wouldn’t it be better to just take advantage of the tools already out there?

      Definitely interested in your solution though!

      • robchristianson Says:

        Sometimes the tools don’t fit the problem. Don’t you hate when you have to unscrew a screw and you have the wrong screwdriver? Oh btw, Vote iQ is now accepting potential beta-testers if you’re interested in participating! http://www.voteiq.com

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