Facebook is Local
by Jessica Ellison Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Is Local
This past week, Representative Cheri Bustos was on NPR’s Morning Edition reiterating that “all politics is local”. Her recent report Hope From The Heartland is a way to take a look at the best practices of Democrats who have successfully run and won in red districts because they were able to localize their elections. Facebook Groups and a public Facebook Page are two ways to stay local online.
One unlikely tool that you can use to more effectively communicate locally is Facebook Groups. After all, this is largely the reason that grassroots organizations have all turned to social media to quickly and efficiently mobilize.
As with everything you do, creating a Facebook Group should be intentional. Always ask yourself, “What is my goal, and how will this help me accomplish it?” Facebook Groups are a great way to community with conversation topics being provided by all members of the group.
Groups can be public, closed, or secret, and each of these settings has its own purpose. Public groups are easy to find, and the conversations and events that are happening within a public group are just that: public. Local business owners and their patrons may want to create a public group to share information about what is happening in that local business district. A closed group can be found, but a person has to be a member of the group in order to see and participate in the conversations and events that are happening there. Many groups that grassroots organizations have created are closed to protect the membership and discussions happening there. Secret groups cannot be found, and members must be invited to join them. A great use of a secret group would be to organize precinct committee people across your county.
A Facebook Page, though people can interact with it, is more of a professional business page. Facebook Pages are always public, and the conversation there is more often one-sided than not, allowing the page owner to generate content while people who like the page can comment and interact with it. The benefit to a Facebook page is that is can be used to run advertising campaigns.
Regardless of whether you choose to have a Facebook Group, a Facebook Page, or both, these are great ways to make politics local. A Facebook Group opens a dialogue among members of a community, connecting them to each other and giving you a sense of their thoughts and needs while a Facebook Page can help people in your district feel connected to you and the things you do daily to represent them as an elected official.
When looking at the tools you have to stay in touch with your community and your district, make sure that you include Facebook in the mix. It is a great way to connect and keep your finger on the pulse of the people.