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Election 2012: Social media provides access to candidates
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters are always looking for a stronger voice in the election process. Truckers and others want to feel as though candidates vying for their vote understand their concerns and that they care about what voters have to say.

Candidates know that the best way to help ensure a successful political campaign is to make a connection with voters. Historically, candidates have relied on mailings, radio and TV, as well as some good old-fashioned door knocking.  

As the use of social media has boomed in recent years, a growing number of candidates understand that to better connect with voters they are best served to have an online presence. Through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Foursquare, and other sites candidates can maximize their exposure for voters.

In fact, the strategy has become an important part of campaigns in recent years.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that in 2010 about one-quarter of online American adults used social networking sites to engage with the election. Involvement included talking with others about a candidate; posting content related to politics or the campaign; signing up as a friend of, or to follow, a candidate.

The swarm of voters online has proven to candidates that social media is a key part of campaigns.

For this year’s presidential election, many more candidates at the federal, state and local levels are embracing the online tool. They tweet activities, post campaign messages and campaign videos, and solicit campaign contributions.

In fact, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that the use of the Internet and social media to generate contributions is exceeding traditional methods and media.

Candidates’ decision to embrace the new method of reaching voters for nearly all aspects of their campaigns is an ideal setup for voters. Specifically, it provides another tool for voters, including truckers, to have a stronger voice on Election Day.

To access a list compiled by Land Line of federal lawmakers and governors on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, click here.

State legislators all over the country have also made their presence known on social media sites. Half of all states offer at least a half dozen unique pages on Twitter and/or Facebook – such as the Connecticut House Democrats and Minnesota Senate Republicans.

Land Line also lists the party pages for each state on Facebook and Twitter. Visiting these pages can provide insight into the thoughts of candidates or the political party’s election message.

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