Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Social media wrap: Oregon pol gives his Facebook fans the whole Kitz and kaboodle

October 17, 2010 |  4:18 pm

John-kitzhaber-vote-kitz-lo President Obama travels to Oregon on Wednesday to rally support for gubernatorial incumbent John Kitzhaber, who’s locked in a tight midterm battle with his Republican opponent, Chris Dudley.

But Kitzhaber grabbed the Ticket’s attention not for having Obama stump for him (instead of requesting First Lady Michelle Obama, as numerous pols nationwide recently have done) but for an innovative Facebook campaign to get his followers to change their profile picture to one supporting him.

Kitzhaber posted 37 brightly designed buttons all boasting his Vote Kitz slogan to his Facebook page over the weekend alongside a video showing his more than 18,000 followers how to replace their profile pic with one of his buttons.

It may, in the Ticket’s opinion, have a better chance of raising his electoral hopes than stumping with Obama (even in heavily left-leaning Oregon).

A Rasmussen telephone survey in Oregon last week found Kitzhaber gleaning 48% of the vote, his best showing yet, while  Dudley received 46% of likely votes. The candidates have been in a virtual dead heat since early February, Rasmussen notes.

Kitzhaber posted: 

Show your support and help elect the next Governor of Oregon by changing your profile pic to "Vote Kitz" -- and then invite your friends to do the same. This short video shows you how to do it. Please spread the word.

Although the reaction was generally positive, Kitzhaber went out of his way to address a ...

... follower’s concerns on his “effective viral media strategy.”  A noteworthy exchange:
Tom X: I'm a supporter, but I don't want to put this as my profile pic. I also supported President Obama's campaign, but thought it odd when people put his likeness on their profile pic. Profile pics have a purpose. How about putting something on my wall like a video? I'd do that, and share it with friends. Give us a video you'd like us to share.

John Kitzhaber:  ‎@Tom thank you. We absolutely understand. While changing the profile pic can be an effective viral marketing strategy, it's not for everyone. Please watch for videos and other items to share in the coming days. We think this is a powerful video to share and wonder what you think:

Banners and signs, incidentally, are banned from the Kitzhaber/Obama rally. But they’re OK online, right?

-- Craig Howie

It's a sign of the times to click here for Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot or @craighowieLAT. Our Facebook Like page is over here. Also available on Kindle now with a two-week free trial.

Image: John Kitzhaber's Facebook page