PI Original Josh Kalven Thursday October 29th, 2009, 10:24am

Adventures In Campaign Twittering

As some may have noticed, our campaign coverage has taken a back-seat to some other issues in the past month.  Expect it to ramp back up at the beginning of next week.

In the meantime, those interested in the intersection of social media and political ...

As some may have noticed, our campaign coverage has taken a back-seat to some other issues in the past month.  Expect it to ramp back up at the beginning of next week.

In the meantime, those interested in the intersection of social media and political campaigns should check out a feature on U.S. Senate David Hoffman's newly-redesigned website.  First some background: From a technological standpoint, one of the notable aspects of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was the large user community that sprung up around its website, my.barackobama.com.  Millions of users regularly flocked there because the campaign allowed them to actually publish blog posts and interact with each other on the site.  Now, in the wake of his victory, lower-level campaigns are wondering how they can build similar engagement online.  Most don't have the resources to moderate the type of community built by Obama's new media team.  Moreover, there just isn't the same degree of interest in congressional or statewide races as you see during a presidential campaign. 

So what other options are out there?

Many campaigns are actively using Twitter to keep followers up-to-speed on the latest developments (see Alexi Giannoulias, Cheryle Jackson, and Dan Hynes as prime examples on the Democratic side).  Now, with his new website, Hoffman is trying to up the ante by encouraging and exposing the interaction that happens on Twitter. 

Towards the bottom of his homepage, his campaign has devoted an entire horizontal section to 1) tweets from the @hoffman4IL account, 2) tweets about Hoffman using the #hoffman hashtag, and 3) replies to his account for other users.  

What this means is that anyone with a Twitter account can write a message (assuming it is within the realm of civil discourse) that appears on the Hoffman homepage.  They just have to reply to his account or use the #hoffman hashtag.  Already one user has asked about Hoffman's position on the "responsibility to encourage and fund the arts."  And they received a response within an hour.

It's a creative idea and something to keep an eye on.

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