Democrats Looking to Increase “Fan” Base

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Democrats may have had a techie edge during the 2008 elections, but Republicans have recently eclipsed them in Congress by pushing members to embrace social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to engage with voters. As we reported yesterday, 64 percent of GOP House members are on Twitter, while only 20 percent of Dems are (and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not among them). Suddenly realizing the tweet-gap, Democrats are trying to catch up. The Hill reported Friday that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is planning to launch a “Member Online All-Star Competition” to get more Democrats into the social media world.

The Democratic contest comes on the heels of a six-week Republican “social media challenge,” during which House Republicans recruited thousands of new Twitter followers and Facebook fans. According to The Hill, to kick off the new contest, Hoyer’s office held a seminar Friday inviting Democrats to “Learn why your office needs to create official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Learn how to create accounts and basic strategies for using these sites. Learn specific strategies for becoming an All-Star in the upcoming competition.”

The Hill also notes that Hoyer’s office circulated an email citing this “timely” Mother Jones piece to highlight “the urgency in this area.” Of course, Hoyer might not be the greatest advocate for new media use himself. I thought I’d send him some Twitter love as thanks for the plug, but as it turns out, Hoyer doesn’t tweet.* No word yet on whether he attended his own seminar.

*Oops! Turns out that Hoyer has been tweeting since February and somehow I missed him in my search. You can read his tweets here. And, he’s got 2,114 Facebook friends to boot.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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