Mills’ campaign on social networking(UPDATE)

Young politicos tout the influence of new media in elections and politics in general. From the Augusta Insider’s Gubernatorial Twitter Primary to Pine Tree Politics’ piece on the “new media war” to my own critiques of candidates’ websites, those of us in the net generation are excited to see how all these new tools will impact the game. The 2010 gubernatorial elections will be the first to feature YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter prominently. While many of us hope to see some bold things from politicians on social networking, it remains to be seen if they can truly win an election.

In a recent piece on Senator Mills’ entrance into the gubernatorial field, I questioned the campaign’s lack of social media presence. I stated that a candidate who missed out on a social networking experience could be making a serious misstep.

Senator Mills’ campaign has responded with their views on social networking, how they are using it, and hints at things to come.

from Team Mills:

Many companies and candidates use the shotgun approach to internet marketing. Shoot everywhere and hopefully you’ll hit something. Team Mills is aiming for a more targeted approach. Different community sites have different uses and different levels of effectiveness. As an example Peter has been on Myspace for years. He’s made 117 connections there. It’s not worth putting more time and effort into Myspace. Contrast that to Facebook where in a few weeks he’s made over 1,300 connections, where one link on public pensions sparked interesting discussion, where we can see how his friends identify themselves politically, religiously and what they do for work. We have plans for tube sites, photo communities and other networks that I’m not going to divulge at this point in the race. We all know that the internet is very useful for organizing volunteers and raising money, especially on a national, even international level. The question is how to use the internet for a Republican primary in Maine, while also casting a wider net for the general election.

UPDATE: The Mills’ campaign has also released a statement today concerning their website. Check out an excerpt below and the whole statement here.

“I have always believed campaigns should be about talking directly with voters. While I will continue to go door-to-door to meet with the people of Maine, I’m very excited about the possibilities of connecting with greater numbers of Mainers online.”

The website includes a custom designed online donation system, the first in Maine to meet the Clean Elections guidelines. The Ethics Commission says Mills is way ahead of the curve. Currently, Mills is the only candidate not to outsource his online donations.

Instead Mills chose to support a Maine company, the Portland-based payment processor PowerPay. Mills first learned of PowerPay during a Tech Maine networking event where he gave a speech entitled “Technology is our Future.” PowerPay recently purchased the old Portland Public Market where they intend to move their growing company – a perfect example of Maine’s potential in the technology sector.

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3 Responses

  1. What the hell is a "tube site".

    I really don't think they understand, and it is a shame. Making use of all the tools you have available is not "the shotgun approach", unless you just sign up for them all and hope something sticks. If you make use out of all of them in the proper way, it does nothing but extend your reach and build your grassroots network.

    Failing to understand that puts Mills at a competitive disadvantage from not only an organizational standpoint, but also a communications standpoint – and worst of all, a perception standpoint.

  2. I agree. It is one thing to just spam Twitter with useless chatter, but it seems most candidates are using it effectively. Leaving an opponent unchallenged on any front could be disastrous.

    I'll admit that I don't pay as much attention to Facebook, but that is only because most candidate FB announcements are Tweeted as well.

    If new media doesn't have a large impact on this election I'll be one of the first to say I was wrong. I don't believe that will be the case. I wont speak for other bloggers, feel free to speak up people, but if social networking isn't a game changer I'll eat a whole plate of boiled beats, which I hate.

    All of that being said, I think it's safe to assume that the Mill's campaign is keeping it's hand hidden until the time is right.

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