After losing the majority in 2006, House Republicans turned to new media in a serious way. By taking their message directly to the American people, and, more importantly, taking their cues directly from the American people, Republicans returned to the majority.
Today, House Republicans dominate on Twitter — both in terms of followers and activity — and the House GOP Leadership continues to encourage their Members to embrace digital media. This year marks the third annual New Media Challenge.
Members and House Committees competing in the challenge are matched in a March Madness-style bracket and earn points by adding likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter and subscribers on YouTube.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, and commissioner of the contest says the challenge is intended “to push the House GOP to be more innovative in its online communications” noting that “a spirited competition goes a long way to breeding new creativity and building on best practices.”
Thirty-two Members and committees have advanced to this week’s segment of the challenge, which is scored on Facebook likes. Early favorites in the tournament, Reps. Sean Duffy (Wisc.), Paul Broun (Ga.) and Geoff Davis (Ky.), all advanced into the second round, while number two seed Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan “dominated” last week’s Twitter round, with a 200+ point lead over his nearest competitor.
The key to Amash’s success? He does his own Tweeting and Facebooking. As with all media, the more authentic and genuine you are on social networks, the more engaged your fans and followers will be.
Members hoping to win this year’s New Media Challenge should follow Congressman Amash’s lead and start doing their own posting to social networks. People turn to social networks to connect with other people, not their spokesmen.
The winner of the contest, which wraps up in the first week of June, will receive a tablet device, while the runner up will get a new smartphone, and third place will be the proud owner of set of steak knives.