The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Politics

May 3, 2014

The politics of social media

ANDERSON — In order to win their races in the May 6 primary election, candidates are pushing hard to get their campaign messages to voters. Many, however, may have overlooked one of the biggest and most inexpensive tools available to do that: social media.

“But it’s never too late to start,” said Brandon Waite, an assistant professor of political science at Ball State University. “If they leverage their own personal profiles, they would be surprised how fast a page can gain likes.”

Several candidates have a social media presence, but Waite said they may not be using it correctly.

Brian Bell, who is running for Madison County Sheriff, is one of the candidates with a Facebook profile page. His page, created March 15, lists the identity of 1,434 friends and has frequent posts often written within hours or days of each other.

But Waite said one of the biggest mistakes in a campaign is using a personal Facebook profile instead of a Facebook page in a campaign.

Mike Miller, running in the primary for Madison County Recorder, said his wife is using her personal Facebook page to promote his candidacy. His opponent, Linda Smith, who is the incumbent, is also using her personal Facebook page to promote her candidacy.

“That’s a disaster for 100 different reasons,” Waite said. “They can announce it on their own profile, but there are major advantages to having a Facebook page. There is more privacy for people who want to like you on a page and you can also view the analytics on a page that tells you what people are liking and sharing. You can’t do that with a profile page, and that is important information.”

Other candidate Facebook pages include Tony Boze’s page, “Tony Boze Wanted for Madison County Sheriff,” which was created in November. Boze is using the page’s ability to post recommendations, documents and other information.

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