State police fees would do more harm than good
Measuring the Twitter profile of PA political candidates

Snowball fights and Pennsylvania politics

This past Saturday over 2,000 people gathered at DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. for a snowball fight. The story of how this event came together demonstrates the power of social media in general, and Facebook and Twitter specifically. 

Ami Greener and Michael Lipin used Facebook to organize a snowball fight in DuPont Circle on December 19, but only a half dozen showed up. On the morning of February 4, as “snowmageddon” or the “snowpocalypse” approached, their site had 30 members. When they decided to organize another snowball fight for February 6, they used Twitter to get the word out. Despite the fact that Ami and Michael have 8 and 26 Twitter followers respectively, they were able to obtain over 5,000 members prior to the start of the fight. With 6,296 members as of Sunday, who knows how many will show up at the next scheduled event.

Other than their time, Ami and Michael did not have to spend any money on postage, radio or television. By using free technology and putting together an effective social media strategy, they were able to create an event that garnered national headlines (and evidently was a considerable amount of fun).

With candidates for Pennsylvania Governor and US Senate raising millions of dollars for their races, so they can spend it on mailings, radio and television to get out the vote, let’s check in and see how they are doing on the social media front.

In the race for Governor:

Candidates A 2.8.10

The two Republican candidates continue lead all candidates in the number of people they can reach via Facebook. Corbett added 100 (5.7% increase) while Rohrer added 114 (5.0% increase). Rohrer continues to build his Twitter followers and continues to Tweet to them. Hoeffel and Onorato lead on the Democratic side with 1,397 and 924 Facebook fans respectively, but they only picked up 19 fans each over the past week. Though both continue to add Twitter followers, only Hoeffel is reaching out to them (on the average 10 times per day). Neither Wagner nor Doherty appears to have a social media strategy at this point in the campaign.

In the race for US Senate:

Candidates B 2.8.10 

All three candidates experienced a slight increase in Facebook fans but Pat Toomey still retains a sizeable lead over his Democratic rivals. Though all three candidates are using Twitter, at this time, they are averaging between 1 and 2 tweets per day.

None of the candidates for Governor or US Senate seem to be employing the social media strategies that brought thousands to DuPont Circle for a snowball fight. But as the candidates continue to throw punches at one another, they may find that the cheapest way to communicate their issues is literally at their fingertips. Senator Scott Brown by the way, added 7,592 Facebook followers this past week for a total of 196,169, and 1,012 Twitter followers for 20,343. Do they know something in Massachusetts that we are missing in Pennsylvania?


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@JoeHoeffel is a campaign Twitter account, not personal one.

@Hoeffel4PAGov is an automated account used for visibility on hashtags like #p2


Thanks! We've updated our information.


Wagner's Twitter feed is at WagnerGov2010. Looks like around 200 followers right now.

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