Friday, December 15, 2006

Bayh and Social Networking

This was found at Hotline on Call this morning.
When Evan Bayh announced he was forming an exploratory committee to run for President last week, he already had thousands of virtual supporters and potential volunteers behind him. That's because Bayh was able to develop his profile and name ID on since early last summer.

After Labor Day, Facebook set up public pages for every candidate up for re-election and any other politician who asked, including Bayh. And now that the election is over, all sitting members of Congress and Governors's pages will move forward (losing candidates will be given the option to open a regular account or be removed) and similar public pages for 2008 Presidential candidates will be added in 2007.

And as presidential announcements start rolling ou, many of pages and the online networks that accompany them have continued to grow for WH '08 candidates.

"Facebook was really just part of our outreach strategy," said Bayh's online organizer Ryan Alexander. "Senator Bayh has always bene a strong advocate of students."

It's a strategy that pulled in more than 6,000 supporters at last count because, in part, Bayh's approach includes pro-actively recruiting and maintaining relationships with his "friends," according to his e-campaign. Bayh's internet team wishes supporters a Happy Birthday, updates Bayh's status almost every day and puts in more personal nuggetts on his profile than those that appear on his Senate Web site.

"You can't just throw up a facebook back that is a rehash of your Senate Web site. You have to understand that people on this Web site are looking for personal information," Alexander said. "We really wanted to approach this how a regular facebook user approaches this."

Oh, and it also helped that Bayh promoted his facebook page at the National College Democrats of America conference last July. In the 48 hours following, Bayh received 1200 friend requests.

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