The following post was written by Jason Mollica, ’97 Temple Alum.
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) social scandal garnered plenty of headlines in June. You remember the story: Weiner tweeted lewd pictures to a 21-year old college student. Then it was found out he did the same to a few other Twitter followers. Weiner resigned under the pressure of first lying about sending the photos.
Now this isn’t going to be a blog on what Rep. Weiner did wrong or how some need a re-education with social media. What I would like this to be is a call for politicians nationwide to continue to use social media.
Yes, do NOT stop your tweeting and posting to Facebook because of this, or a few other missteps by your political brethren. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can be powerful tools in your arsenal. But, they also need to understand that social media can build you up and in one tweet, take you down.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of Arizona Sen. John McCain (also an avid tweeter), wrote a column on “The Daily Beast” in June. In it, she wondered if politicians should be on Twitter period. She said:
So I have to ask: What do politicians really gain by using Twitter? There are only a handful of politicians who are truly great on Twitter—the rest rely on their account to release press releases. But even the entertaining Tweeters stumble because the only way to succeed in the medium is to be unscripted.
I believe politicians have a ton to gain on Twitter. Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker has been doing outstanding things with his social media efforts. Philly’s own Mayor Michael Nutter is also a great example that if politicians understand what social media can do, it can affect change.
Ms. McCain is right when she says during the election cycle that tweets will be more powerful and dangerous. It’s up to the politicians to be smart and savvy, though.
Jason Mollica is a 1997 graduate of Temple University’s School of Communication and Theater. Since then, he has worked in television and radio in Philadelphia and New York City. Upon leaving the industry in 2005, he began a career in public relations and marketing. He is currently the public relations manager for Carr Marketing Communications in Amherst, N.Y. You can follow him on Twitter, @JasMollica, and read his blog at http://oneguysjourney.wordpress.com