If you see some young political operatives during this election season armed with smartphones rather than clipboards, don’t assume they are part of the Barack Obama-inspired “Yes We Can” movement.
Republicans are also getting into the social media world in their campaigning, and the New Jersey Federation Of Republican Women is hosting a “#HashtagPolitics” event Saturday, October 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Villa Victoria Academy, 376 West Upper Ferry Road, Ewing. The cost, which includes lunch, is $40, $35 for members. Participants should bring a tablet or laptop and power cord.
Matt Rainey, political technology director of the Republican National Committee, will speak on “Hands On Training in the Latest Campaign Technology,” including an introduction of “GOP DataBeacon,” a technology just developed by the RNC that is being used by state parties and activists to run smarter campaigns.
According to the release announcing this event (which has been rescheduled from its original September 27 date), “this brand new technology brings the freshest information about voters to your smartphone or table, and allows you to easily make progress by logging the information from your interactions. (On Apple, coming to Android soon.) “With DataBeacon you can quickly query the database to find voters to target, see easy-to-read graphs to understand the data, and access routing maps for contacting voters with the help of the door-knocking application.”
Rainey, a 2012 graduate of Marquette University, has been a regional field director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin and served on the Romney campaign.
As a 20-something he is part of the social media generation. As the event organizers claim, without citing any source for the data, “70 percent of adults to age 30 use social media as their primary news source, as do 60 percent of those age 30 to 39, and 40 percent age 40 to 59.” The release adds that “social media is full of opportunities for candidates and elected officials alike to connect with voters, foster transparency, and even spar with opponents.
Instructors are Carol Spencer, digital and social media manager, Morris County, and finance director of the National Association of Government Web Professionals; and Melanie Collins, adjunct professor at Rowan University.