U.S. House Republicans Begin Facebook Battle

By Jennifer Moire 

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives are launching their 2012 social media competition today.

The annual New Media Challenge, now in its third year, is designed to help Republican members of the House improve their reach to constituents using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and also highlight the most creative use of these social media platforms.

To date, 90 members of the Republican caucus have signed-on for the battle. Last year, Representative John Fleming of Louisiana took first place for the second year in a row.

Organizers say the 2011 competition generated 300,000 new Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and YouTube views. Fleming increased his Facebook likes by 1,620 or 6.1 percent during the seven week contest.

The challenge is styled on the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament. The competition has proven to be an effective way to get Members engaged on social media, such as Facebook, and communicate with their constituents online.

How effective? In January 2009, only 30 percent of House Republicans were on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Today, more than 85 percent of House Republicans are using these platforms.

Announcing the kickoff, Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state commented:

The New Media Challenge continues to push the House GOP to be more innovative in its online communications. Since undertaking the charge to get our Conference up-to-speed online in 2009, we’ve made great progress. But now is not the time to let up. A spirited competition goes a long way to breeding new creativity, and building on best practices.

The official rules of the challenge are posted here; the first qualification round concludes this Friday.