The Making of #votesocialmedia
When we first discussed the guidelines for our final group presentations in our “Social Media U Need To Know” class, the idea of a group project conducted almost exclusively through different social media platforms seemed very daunting. We were instructed to use several tools that I had little to no experience with, and I initially felt that they would just slow down the process. But as we began our research on the advantages that social media tools present for political candidates in their campaigns, it was soon evident how helpful these tools really were.
My first reality check what realizing how great Google Docs is. I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t used such a great tool until my senior year of college. The ability to share and edit documents with my teammates was an awesome way to collaborate and made it easy to update our own sections of the presentation as we completed them. In the past, I’ve done group projects where one person is selected to put all the pieces together to make it a cohesive presentation, but that need no longer exists because of tools like Google Docs.
Other Google tools that I really enjoyed using were Google Alerts, Google+, and Google Hangouts. After setting my alerts, I received daily e-mails with relevant articles and posts about politics in social media, which gave us great information and sources to use in our research. If I came across a good article that I thought we could use, I would post it on Google+ to our group’s circle. Not only was it a great way to share the info, but it kept all the articles in one place that was accessible to all of our group members. And Google Hangouts has to be one my all-time favorite tools, make the whole idea of a “group meeting” ten times simpler, since you don’t have to find a convenient place for everyone to get together and you can chat in the comfort of your own home. Not to mention the new mustache feature that applies a mustache to your face while you chat…
Of all of the tools I felt that we used the LinkedIn group the least. I felt that everything we could do on LinkedIn, we could do just as well through Google+ or Twitter.
Twitter was a major resource throughout the entire project. We communicated as a group through tweets, which helped us to get in touch as quickly as possible, since our tweets were sent to our smart phones. We also connected with our interview sources through Twitter. I was surprised at how quickly I received a response from Archie Smart at Targeted Victory after tweeting him to ask about an interview. Until this project, I thought that using Twitter to contact professional sources was a bit unprofessional, but I’ve realized that if the people you want to get in touch with are engaged in social media, and if you go about it the right way, they’re usually very receptive to your questions.
We chose the hashtag #votesocialmedia because we felt it was playful and applied to our topic of political campaigns. Our group members used the hashtag as we put together the project just to make it easy to keep track of our conversation. During the actual presentation our hashtag actually trended worldwide for about 8 minutes according to TweetStats! (thanks to our TA, Heather Cosson, for looking this up).
And according to Hashtracking we made 89,863 impressions as well! Overall I really enjoyed the project, and our conclusions about social media as it pertains to politics proved to be very interesting. Please take a look at our Slideshare presentation (embedded in the post below) and let us know what you think!