When it comes to political campaigns, candidates do a lot of talking, but do not always make meaningful connections with voters. While we are still gearing up for the 2012 US Presidential and Congressional elections, many state and local voters will be electing local public officials this fall. Just like the candidates for President and Congress, state and local leaders are under significant pressure to communicate that they understand and appreciate voter concerns, and that they have solutions for the problems voters really care about. This level of voter connection cannot be achieved without meaningful, face-to-face contact with as many constituents as possible. Skype video calling helps bring people together and makes important connections and conversations possible.
Candidates for public office know that elections are won locally. While candidates are not always able to meet with voters in person, today they are using Skype to create the local, personal connections that are necessary to be elected to public office. In 2008, we wrote here about U.S. Presidential campaigns using Skype for a successful get out the vote effort. But the use of social media by politicos has grown exponentially since then and in today’s political environment face-to-face connections really make a difference.
Candidates are making greater use of Skype video calling to power their campaigns, allowing candidates to reach voters where the voters are – whether gathered in school auditoriums, city hall, or the living room of the local precinct captain. For instance, while participating in an international voting summit in Germany, West Virginia’s Secretary of State, Natalie Tennant, used Skype video calling for media interviews about what the conference meant for voters in West Virginia. And just this week, Kalamazoo, Michigan Mayor, Bobby Hopewell, who is seeking reelection, used Skype video to participate in a candidate forum in Kalamazoo, while he was meeting with companies in Silicon Valley.
Skype interactions are highly personal and allow the sharing of experiences to mimic the feeling of being together. In today’s 24/7 news cycle, where use of social media must be strategic and meaningful to have an impact, candidates are using Skype video calling to make the personal connection necessary to attract supporters. Skype should be part of the victory plan for any political campaign.