The Politics of Social Media
This blog was written by Kim Osborne, campus ambassador at the University of South Carolina. She is a public relations major and political science minor and will graduate in May. Kim has worked as a South Carolina State House Senate Page for the past two years.
Political consulting has always been an area that has piqued my interest. I had the opportunity to sit down with CEO of Donehue Direct Wesley Donehue to discuss social media and its impact on politics.
Kim: Tell me a little about yourself.
Wesley: I got my first campaign gig at the age of 15 and have been working on campaigns since then. All through college till I was 30 years-old, I was working on as many campaigns as I possibly could. I had another consulting firm called First Tuesday Strategies that I left due to marketing and business differences. I went out on my own when I was 30 and created Donehue Direct, a political consulting firm that was more innovative and concentrated on technology and new ways to connect with people.
Kim: How has social media changed political campaigns?
Wesley: The Internet has changed everything. It’s changed the way people talk to each other, whether it’s their friends, family or coworkers. People are now connected on a level where sharing is the basis for everything. Naturally political marketing has to change to keep up with these platforms. Social media lets us communicate and interact with voters on a personal level.
Kim: What three traits or skills should someone possess who wants to be in this field?
Wesley: 1) Intense hard work; 2) Dedicated, forward thinking; and 3) Extremely organized.
Kim: What’s been your most impactful internship?
Wesley: I interned for a political consultant named Rod Shealy. Interning is not about the money; it’s about using the opportunity to learn everything you can and to meet as many people as possible.
Kim: Do you have any advice for Intern Queen readers?
Wesley: While you are working for someone else, you need to be branding yourself. Always share what you are doing on social media and talk about your experiences. Put your content on Facebook and Twitter and say “Hey, look what I designed yesterday at Donehue Direct!” While building your employer’s brand, you should always be tracking what you are doing and promoting your work. As my employees grow, the firm grows. Timeline is basically a resume of your work and what you’ve been up to. That being said, make sure to keep your resume professional.
Kim: Any thoughts on the Republican candidates’ use of social media?
Wesley: Romney’s campaign needs to use social media to make him seem well-rounded. The American voters are having a hard time connecting with him. Most politicians are still using the Internet as a one-way platform and not using social media to engage the public.
Thank you Wesley for the interview. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.