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Social media wrap: Al Gore, Patty Murray and how best to reach voters online

August 31, 2010 |  8:20 am


Al Gore once famously took a very complicated concept -- the origin of human interaction in a virtual world and the political ramifications thereof -- and simplified it for the masses ("I created the Internet").

About 10 years on, and bypassing various politicians' foibles with the "Internets" (George W. Bush) and "series of tubes" (the late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska), one politician turned the Ticket's head on Monday by taking a tremendously complex issue -- how best to reach voters online -- and breaking it down into a simple concept (Tell us how best we can reach you, please. Legally.).  

Washington Sen. Patty Murray (or one of her staff) asked her more than 16,000 Facebook followers this simple question:

What tools and platforms do you like to use to connect to and engage with campaigns and candidates online?

Out of about 80 respondents, most of whom were lucid, Facebook was cited by almost all and emerged as the clear winner, which is perhaps unsurprising considering the question was posed on Murray's  ...

...Facebook page. Surprisingly, the call for yard signs finished ahead of the pack, but a distant second. Twitter was cited frequently. Some preferred e-mail or direct marketing campaigns. MySpace nods -- in fact, just the one vote -- were underwhelming even in their relative absence.

Here are some of our favorite responses from Murray's Facebook followers, which we relay with no other comment other than to mention that Murray is a Democrat, so please bear in mind the results may be as badly skewed as Al Gore's campaign-season claims to fame. 

-- "Facebook is good, because I'm on here constantly. I like weekly status emails, with lots of content that explains direction, issues, and topics that are important to the candidates and we, the citizens."

-- "Facebook (obviously) and Twitter. I also like live video forums where you can chat/tweet/FB live and ask questions of and interact with the candidate. Good moderation is key,though."

-- "I like direct emails, either from the candidates or progressive groups like Fuse or LCV."

-- "Facebook works great. We get to communicate with your staff and you can put your positions out in front!!! And, WE can communicate with your critics first hand!! Win, win!!"

-- "Facebook and twitter for fast, easy access and ability to share. Don't really read the emails."

-- "Doesnt like my ufcw 21 tellin me who to vote for, but i do like hearin and readin about canidates progress in helpin the extremly low income Disadvantaged people get housing and better jobs and reasonable affordabe healthcare."

-- "How do I get yard signs?"

-- "yard signs!!! I'm wanting some of those aswell!!"

-- "please, please, please don't waste too much time and effort reaching out to people online. It's like inviting your friends to a fundraiser and telling them to leave their checkbooks at home. Leads to a false sense of connection and sense of contribution that will let you down in the end ... my 2 cents."

-- "If yard signs were an indication of electoral appeal, Ron Paul would be President."

-- "Twitter..DEMS need a bigger showing on Twitter"

-- "As one of the last of the Depression babies, I like phone calls from real people for a specific purpose. Email surveys are welcomed. Telephone surveys are welcome if they are helpful."

--"i state my mantra, it's the economy, it's the economy ... that gets everyone's attention, no mater what social network utilized!"

-- "I prefer to use "logic" but I see you haven't got that program."

-- "Picks and shovels are the community building tools before and today."

-- "NO PHONE CALLS! Email is best, and Facebook is fine, but do NOT call me at home."

-- "Websites, Facebook, and Twitter. Don't underestimate the power of a well-written tweet which includes a shortened (topical) URL."

-- "The 2 way interaction of FB is hard to beat currently,, but you're limited to people who already have a connection. The local newspaper websites have a pretty powerful following ... it'd be refreshing to see a candidate write an honest weekly news article about what's really going on, without having it be filtered by the media. Love to see Patty as the next Erma Brombeck ..."

-- "Don't underestimate the power of a well-written tweet ..."

-- "I wish you and your staff would put out more videos or audio so I can listen while multitasking. I don't do cable and it take way to much time to follow you through written text."-- Craig Howie

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