Johnny Isakson, the Republican U.S. Senate incumbent from Georgia, will be facing either R. J. Hadley or Michael Thurmond as his Democratic opponent in November. In addition to being on different sides of the political fence, these men come from different backgrounds and different decades. Senator Isakson is 65, Michael Thurmond is 57 and R.J. Hadley is 41. It is very interesting to see what, if any, differences can be found in the way the candidates are using the Internet and social media. You might be surprised by the outcome.
I’m an undecided voter, so any information that I can find on the political views of the candidates is important to forming my decision on who to vote for in November. I tend to find most of my information through the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter so, I began by Googling Isakson, Thurmond, and Hadley to see what information was available on their campaigns. Because I am very concerned about the current BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, off shore drilling, and how it might affect coastal Georgia, I decided to look for the candidates’ positions on this issue – a timely issue that each candidate should currently be addressing.
Google Johnny Isakson and you’ll find both an official Senate website and his re-election website, JohnnyIsakson.com. Incumbent Isakson also benefits from his Senate post as it is easy to find articles and other information from such sites as Congress.org and the Washington Post linking to him.
While Johnny Isakson’s official government website is overloaded with information, the JohnnyIsakson.com reelection site is much more user friendly and contains prominent links to social media. I followed Senator Isakson’s link to Facebook which was also very well-organized and current, including pictures, events, and video.
From Facebook, I followed a link to Isakson’s Twitter page where I found what I was looking for – a timely tweet on the oil spill that sent me to YouTube for a video of Isakson addressing this issue.
R. J. Hadley
Good news for R. J. Hadley. His official website, HadleyForUSSenate.com was first up on Google, and his Facebook site and Twitter profiles showed up as well in the top ten results. However, it is clear that this is a grassroots campaign.
R. J. Hadley’s website is simple and to the point, listing his bio and where he stands on some issues as well as news and how to volunteer. Hadley is also doing a good job with Facebook, posting to it fairly regularly and interfacing it with Twitter and YouTube. He doesn’t post as much info as Isakson, however; probably due to staff limitations. Still, a good effort.
Even though Michael Thurmond got a late start on his campaign by not announcing until April, you would expect his organization to be better and more well-funded than it appears. Thurmond’s website is still under construction.
Facebook information is minimal and I couldn’t find a Twitter account. While there are some YouTube videos of Thurmond, I couldn’t find a coordinated effort to get his message out on YouTube. It is hard to believe that the Rasmussen Poll has him as the leading candidate for the Democratic party. Hadley has done a better job of getting his message out than Thurmond has. It will be interesting to see if Thurmond indeed wins the Democratic nomination.
You may not agree with the political points that Johnny Isakson is tweeting about, but you have to be impressed that the oldest and most conservative candidate in the race is the one who understands that it’s a new day in which social media are a part of a well-organized campaign.
R. J. Hadley
Twitter Page – Not found
Rasmussen Reports, Election 2010: Georgia Senate