Social networking is taking away students’ excuses for not being able to get politically involved.
Local politicians are using social networks to make the community aware of new issues and to gauge public opinion.
“I began using Facebook in association with Texas State just for student organizations,” said Councilmember Kim Porterfield, Place 1. “I also had friends that had Facebook accounts.”
Porterfield said she keeps her Texas State Facebook separate from personal and group pages. Porterfield said she decided to begin a Facebook group when she ran for City Council, which now helps her reach out to constituents.
Facebook is not the only multimedia tool Porterfield uses.
“I am a recent joiner of Twitter,” Porterfield said.
Porterfield said one of her first Twitters was during the public forum with Police Chief Howard Williams and Lisa Dvorack, assistant police chief, over possible amendments to the city noise ordinance. Porterfield said she posted issues discussed during the meeting and was surprised how quickly she got a response from students tracking her on the site.
“I see social networking as a great way to stay connected and get the word out quickly,” Porterfield said. “I use networks every one or two days.”
Porterfield said she now uses Twitter more often, but in combination, because she can link things to Facebook through Twitter.
Councilmember Chris Jones, Place 4, said he uses Twitter and Facebook. Jones said he used his Facebook more during his campaign last fall.
“I was one of the first people to use Facebook during my campaign,” Jones said. “The issues people posted helped me build my platform.”
Jones said he uses Facebook more than Twitter because it is a more functional tool. Jones said he does not do much blogging, but is in the process of setting one up which may change how often he uses Twitter.
“I use them both daily,” Jones said. “I get alerts on my iPhone when I have an update.”
Jones said he uses his Facebook group to post current events and to gain feedback from community members.
Trenton Thomas, finance junior running for student body president, said he likes local politicians taking time to use social networks.
“I think it is great they are reaching out with quick response to handle our issues,” Thomas said. “It helps young adults get looked at as political contributors.”
Thomas said he is using a similar tactic during his school campaign. He is setting up a Facebook group site to stay informed about student concerns.
Thomas said students do not always have the time to stop and seek out the information, but do want to be informed on the issues of the representatives. Thomas said Facebook is a good way to achieve this goal and meet people’s needs.
“With social networking sites, you get news out to broader amount of people with quick responses,” Thomas said. “These sites are revolutionizing the way we view politics today.”
Thomas said the great thing about the networks is politicians often link his or her speech to the site, or new concerns being raised in the communities. Thomas said the information is always there, and a person can pull records to see what actually happened.