If that’s the case, then you’re doing it wrong, because social media can’t replace direct contact with a voter.
I discussed this a little last week with some friends, but the deserved fascination with social media’s impact on elections often strays into the realm of the ridiculous with headlines like that above, which come from the San Antonio Express-News with comments like, “Block walking is so 2008.”
Social media a great tool for engaging voters and providing them with another source for information; however, as a Pew survey showed in 2009, many of the people using social media are already active in traditional areas of political participation. This has been something I’ve seen as I watch the Twitter feeds of supporters of one or the other of the Texas Senate candidate in the Republican primary, i.e., many of the people are activists who were already supporting these campaigns in other, more traditional ways.
And even as we move further into the 21st Century, going door-to-door is an effective means of moving voters, though not necessarily the most cost effective, as Donald Green and Alan Gerber showed in their book Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout. In large statewide campaigns, it’s difficult for a candidate to go door-to-door, so social media is a good tool, just like television ads and radio, but it shouldn’t replace grassroots efforts by volunteers to go door-to-door in urban/suburban areas. And candidates in small districts, like state house or state senate, shouldn’t become so enamoured of social media that they ignore making in person contact with the voters.
Use all the tools at your disposal, including social media, but don’t let anyone convince you that the traditional methods are somehow out of date.