Ever wondered what your elected representatives are up to in Congress? Would you have guessed that some members are currently fighting it out in a March Madness-like, social media competition?
GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives are engaged in a fierce yet friendly competition to see who can outfriend their colleagues on Facebook as part of the second annual New Media Challenge sponsored by the House Republican Conference (that’s just a fancy way of saying fancy Republican members of the House).
The friendly contest pits Republican members against each other as a way to maximize their use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to engage with constituents. The competition also provides a platform for trying out the latest digital technologies, then sharing best practices among congressional offices.
Participation has doubled since the first year, with 106 members now signed up to out-follow, out-like and out-subscribe each other as of last week. The GOP conference seems to be pretty active with their social media use. According to the Conference, more than 80 percent of members already use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Last year, the group claims to have gained 40,000 social media fans during the contest’s six week blitz.
Points are earned during each round when Members add new followers, likes, and views on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. A preliminary round is underway on YouTube to determine placements in a 64-participant Championship bracket and 32-participant Bronze bracket.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers pf Washington state. vice chair of the House Republican Conference, said, “As we learned with last year’s Challenge, a little friendly competition goes a long way to helping Members break out of the mold, and get even more creative online… The New Media Challenge helps our Members more effectively communicate, engage and listen to the American people.”
We’ll keep you posted on how the Facebook numbers shape up. We’ll also check in with the other side of the aisle to see how House Democrats are engaging with social media.
Readers, what do you think of this contest as a way of getting House Republican members to reach out to constituents?