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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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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