Impact of social media on 2015 Elections - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Impact of social media on 2015 Elections

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Murray Silver used to think little about social media.

"I didn't know tweets from twits from whatever,” said Silver. “Because I'm not in high school.”

That was before he decided to run for mayor. Once he did, Silver became Savannah's Facebook candidate.

While Mayor Edna Jackson and challenger Eddie DeLoach practiced more traditional campaigning strategies, such as signage and more recently television ads, Silver got his message out primarily through social media, utilizing several streams.

"So now I've got the Facebook page - personal and political,” said Silver. “I’ve got a website, and this is the way you do things in 2015.”

"And to reach younger voters, people who are more tech savvy,” added Silver’s campaign manager Maria Burns, “that's where you need to go.”

Burns was pulled into Silver’s camp by his social media reach and says Facebook is a necessary tool for today's political candidate.

"That's the direction where it's heading now. More and more businesses are headed to that, so you have to stay with the times,” she says. “I don't think he's been given a fair shake by the media, so yeah, if we cannot get it from conventional outlets we'll go where we can.”

But to Silver, interacting online with people during his yearlong campaign has been just as much a necessary evil.

"Facebook to me is the bathroom wall of the internet. You never know ultimately who you're talking to,” he says. “It sucks up a lot of energy at a time when you're trying to expend it running a race, you find there's a tremendous amount of distraction online. You have to spend so much time monitoring like kids on a playground. I don't have time for that.”

And as the mayoral race nears its finish line, Silver also doesn't know what impact he will get from his online campaigning

"Here's what I learned about running for office, people will tell you what they think you want to hear,” said Silver. “But what they do in the ballot box? You'll never know. And I think Facebook and social media is just an extension of that, the same dynamic.”

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