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Politicians Use Social Media

June 12, 2013, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Politicians Use Social Media

Times have changed, especially for politicians who no longer have to call a news conference to make an announcement. More and more of them are turning to social media to get their messages out, but some wonder if they're getting the full message.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem, Former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman all used some form of social media to make major announcements about their political careers.

"It's no surprise that this is becoming an increasingly strong trend out there," Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs at Augustana College Joel Johnson said.

Johnson says politicians like using social media for several reasons.

"First of all, it's fast, easy, cheap, but more than that it allows a politician to speak directly to his or her constituents, especially those who are the strongest supporters," Johnson said.

They get the scoop, the same time as the media.

"You're able to bypass the media unfiltered, you get your message right there to the people who want it and you don't have to worry about pesky questions from the press," Johnson said.

But that's not necessarily a good thing.

"You don't get to ask the questions you want answered," journalism professor Terry Harris said.

Harris, who teaches journalism at SDSU, says leaving the media out of such announcements becomes one sided.

"The balance I am looking for and you're looking for every night, I know I won't get that social media bite or Youtube statement I want more out of them," Harris said.

It's then left up to the journalists to do their jobs to find that balance. 

"It's a good strategy for them, but if you're looking to get more substance that doesn't have all the answers, you still have to seek out more sources to get what you need to know as a person who votes it's up to the news media to do that, " Harris said.

Johnson says if you're an unknown trying to get name recognition, you're better off calling a news conference rather than posting it on social media.

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