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A Look at South Dakota Senate Candidates’ Social Media Efforts

NPN graphic by Todd Epp, used with permission.

(NPN) — Just a decade ago in South Dakota, a candidate website was still a fairly new phenomenon. A few campaigns had sites on Myspace, a rather clunky attempt at social media that started in 2003. Facebook, which would go on to overtake Myspace and other early competitors, only began in Feb. 2004. There was no Twitter (2006), Instagram (2010) or PinIt (2011). While LinkedIn was around in 2003, it had few users.

In a short period of time, websites are de rigueur for campaigns and the usage of not just a social media platform but multiple platforms is the norm in South Dakota campaigns.

This “Tweeter” looks at the Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate in the June 2014 primary and their social media assets.

The methodology was to go to the candidates’ websites, see what other social media they connected to and conducting Google searches. A later edition will update the GOP candidates’ efforts.

  • Dr. Annette Bosworth is using almost the entire universe of social media—Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
  • Former Gov. Mike Rounds is close behind—Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
  • State Rep. Stance Nelson and attorney Jason Ravnsborg are just behind Rounds in social media used—Website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • State Sen. Larry Rhoden is just behind Nelson and Ravnsborg—Website, Facebook and Twitter.

As recently as 2012 or certainly 2010, Rhoden “only” using a website, Facebook and Twitter would have been at worst, a campaign best practices, and probably even considered still ahead of the campaigning curve.While the candidates do use the social media for their campaign issue stands (and sometimes getting into “flame wars” with others (more on that another time)), what is often posted or sent out via social media is what the candidates do and have always done—photos of meeting and greeting the public—the original social media.

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