A Democratic leadership aide described the event as a “nice hands-on training” for Members less familiar with social media, and it even led to one Member signing up for Twitter on the spot: @DelegateDonna (Democratic Del. Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands).
“Just generally, [Pelosi] is very committed to having a new media component to all of our messaging efforts,” the aide said. “It’s not just for [Members’] grandkids to tell them about.”
Democratic leaders have also stepped up their efforts to ensure that their staffers are taking full advantage of social media. They have has hosted three staff briefings this year on the issue: The first was on Google ads and YouTube, the second was on Facebook, and the third was last week on Twitter.
“Social media is just really where you need to be; if you’re not paying attention or participating, the conversation is happening without you,” the leadership aide said. Members are being strongly encouraged to become more savvy about engaging with constituents online, “a location they’re perhaps not as familiar with, but the exchange and dialogue is something they’re very familiar with.”
Not that Democrats aren’t facing some significant obstacles in winning the online messaging war. Honda was greeted with several heads shaking “no” when, during last month’s DNC event, he asked whether people felt Congressional Democrats were sending consistent messages into the community. And from a sheer numbers standpoint, Republicans outnumber Democrats on Twitter by 19, 134 to 115.
But it can’t hurt that House Democrats’ biggest asset, President Barack Obama, in January brought David Plouffe into the White House as a senior adviser. Plouffe, Obama’s point man on social media in the 2008 presidential campaign, is widely known as the brain behind the innovative strategy that not only got Obama elected but brought in the largest amount of campaign funding in election history.
“We saw the mobilization of new voters during the presidential campaign and the Congressional campaigns of 2008. Having the White House and House Democrats committed to building on that success would mean nothing but more opportunities for us to succeed,” a senior Democratic aide said.