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IN THE NEWS: Social Media Class: Mass. pols get their grades
October 31, 2011

Social Media Class: Mass. pols get their grades

Boston Herald

By Makena Cahill  |   Monday, October 31, 2011  

What do President Obama and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown have in common? No, not basketball skills. It’s their social media savvy.

Politicians need to tweet up a storm and post like pros on Facebook if they want to keep their jobs. Here are a few making the grade:

Tito Jackson (@titojackson, not to be confused with @titojackson5): A-

Operating on a smaller scale allows the District 7 city councilor to play a personal role in his online outreach. It’s his voice responding to supporters’ questions, refreshing in a time when most campaigns man Twitter with social media staffers or interns.

Ben Downing (@benjamindowning): A-

The state Senator from the Berkshires recently partnered with iBerkshires.com to host a virtual town hall, collecting live questions from his constituents via Twitter and Facebook.

Niki Tsongas (@nikiinthehouse): B+

The congresswoman gets credit for not taking social media too seriously, as demonstrated by her playful Twitter handle.

Kim Driscoll (@mayordriscoll): B

The mayor of Salem uses her Twitter page well, actively supporting and encouraging Salem’s tourism industry. Points off, however, for having a protected feed, meaning that constituents must be approved before being able to follow her.

Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforMA): C

Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook page is defined by cut-and-pastes from news coverage and endorsement announcements. More than 60,000 supporters are waiting to be engaged, with several explicitly asking for podcasts and videos to share with friends instead of “cookie cutter” campaign communications (their words, not mine).

Scott Brown (@scottbrownma @ussenscottbrown): A-

As Sen. Brown’s Facebook following has grown to more than 200,000 fans, so has the amount of comments left on his page, making it inherently harder to be responsive. His extremely interactive Twitter account makes up for it. His efforts to personally thank and retweet voters who share content demonstrates the real value of social media in politics — the ability to connect with those you might never meet in person.

Gov. Deval Patrick (@massgovernor): C

Gov. Patrick’s 28,000 Twitter followers would probably appreciate more than just links to his press page (even the e-newsletter announcing his daughter’s wedding contained an official release). There are newsfeeds for that.

Therese Murray (@theresemurrayMA): C-

As Senate President, she should be setting an example for how social media can be used to engage with constituents and connect them to useful, actionable information. Instead, her feed screams apathy.



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