Thursday, April 1, 2010

Politico Wins Favor Via Facebook

Facebook continued to expand its social media kingdom last night as it hosted an online political event. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty staged the first-of-its-kind "town hall meeting" on the popular networking site, fielding questions from around the country. The Governor spoke briefly about some of the challenges facing our nation and some of the candidates he plans to support in 2010. Participants had the chance to log-on to their Facebook, Twitter and AIM accounts to raise issues, ask questions and suggest other conservative candidates to support for the Freedom First PAC.

Facebook has been a powerful tool for politicians for several years now: Facebook Election 2006 and Barack Obama’s “A+” use of Facebook in the 2008 presidential campaign are just two of many examples. Fox Business claimed this was the latest of a series of moves which political insiders see as Pawlenty “positioning himself for a run at the 2012 GOP nomination.” Wearing a casual blue shirt and seated between a U.S. and a Minnesota flag, Pawlenty showed he was approachable, accessible, and relatable to viewers. During the virtual meeting, I saw positive comments from views such as: “thanks governor, this rocks,” and “I want to see tpaw in office.”

Prior to the meeting, Pawlenty plugged his Facebook Town Hall meeting on FOX News with Greta Van Susteren and MSNBC.

Facebook has grown beyond a simple two-way communication between friends. The application has become an indirect marketing channel to promote products, services and politicians to specific target groups. During the town hall meeting, Pawlenty even unveiled a new icon/widget on his web site that allows people to directly donate to the candidates he is backing.

With more than 31,000 Facebook fans, utilizing Facebook was a smart way for Pawlenty to connect with potential supporters and get a "lot of press" without having to go through mainstream news media to communicate with people.

-Potomac Communications Group

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