In the Dark

Let me preface this by saying that I feel like I complain a lot about my candidates, but then if the worst criticism I have is pointing out missteps when it comes to digital outreach then that’s pretty good. Hopefully this is received in the spirit of which it is intended.

This morning I went through my usual routine. Drinking a cup of coffee and catching up on the news, reddit, Twitter, etc., while trying to wake up. I even decided to hop on Facebook and see what’s going on there before turning my attention to something more constructive. I was about to wrap up when it occurred to me that I’ve not seen any news from the candidates that I’m following in the upcoming election. Of course, Facebook famously decides how to organize your news feed. There is no rhyme or reason, that I can tell, to which posts will be displayed and in what order, or at all. If I had to guess it would be to find any posts with the phrase “copy and paste this if you agree” and make sure those are displayed front and center. I generally lose interest pretty quickly. For whatever reason I decided to visit the candidate pages directly and what do you know, there have been several posts I didn’t see.

The first post I saw was a video from Chris Mayor talking about a meet and greet with the candidates that was going on yesterday. I try to keep myself reasonably well informed but I hadn’t heard a word about it. Actually it took a bit of digging to find out exactly what the event was. None of the candidates had this event listed, though Mariah Phillips did list an event that appeared to take place just before which was advertised as an event for those that are a “current or former educator”.

I’m really frustrated and baffled by the almost exclusive reliance on Facebook to spread campaign information. For me, Facebook is where I check in from time to time on friends and family whereas Twitter is where I go for news and current events. Last night is a great example of the difference between Facebook and Twitter with the real time reaction to the Emmy’s scrolling by. It wouldn’t occur to me to use Facebook for that sort of engagement.

Perhaps I’m in the minority but I’m certainly not alone in how I use those social media services. But I’m just not seeing as much activity from any of the candidates, or for that matter the county and state parties, on Twitter. Particularly when it comes to events. It feels like a missed opportunity. I looked at the Twitter feed of each candidate as well as the Rutherford County Democratic Party and The Tennessee Democratic Party. Nothing. The RCDP even has this nice calendar but there was no mention of it there.

Consider, for example, Chris Mayor has 394 people following his page on Facebook, but he has 745 followers on Twitter. Not only is this a missed opportunity to inform almost double your followers, but he’s followed by the people like @bimmerella and @StormResist with 37,900 and 80,000 followers respectively. That’s a potentially huge opportunity to amplify your message.

I don’t mean to pick on anyone. I’ve met some of the candidates and I know they are trying very hard and resources are stretched thin but please, if you could, when you’re posting something on Facebook take a moment and just copy/paste that over to Twitter to help the rest of us stay informed.