For this week’s social networking interaction, I decided to look at a Republican campaign for a change. Before enrolling in Internet Advocacy, I had no desire to look at an challenger’s websites promoting him/her or his/her beliefs. But, after this past week’s lecture about political Internet campaigns, I felt it was almost a required duty as a communication strategist. I chose to look at Campaign for Liberty. Campaign for Liberty is a political organization founded by eleven-term United States Congressman Ron Paul. The Campaign for Liberty focuses on educating elected officials and the general public about constitutional issues, and currently provides a membership program. Now to critique their website.

The website was set up like a blog. I think this technique has its pros and cons. The pros include that it is very easy to read. The articles are short and to the point. Additionally, they include a YouTube video almost daily. I also like how you can search for a specific topic in the search engine on the top right hand screen. The cons include it doesn’t have a professional look to it. I know many people of all ages will only continue browsing and stay on a website if it has a professional look to it not one a two year could make. The ads on the right hand column are distracting and unnecessary.

As I moved throughout the website, I began to notice text heavy pages. Why are campaigns doing this? Time and time again, I get happy feeling then when I click the next page my happy face turns into one of disbelief. The About page was ridiculously text heavy. I ended up going to Wikipedia for a shorter version. The Donate and store page were alright. To sign up, the site required you to fill a lengthy form, which required a phone number and home address, so I passed on that. However, their phone number section gave you an option if you would like a voicemail or a text message; this was interesting that they are using both techniques.

Now I move onto how they are doing social networking wise. The social networks links were on bottom right column of the page; I would have definitely moved them up to the top. The Facebook page definitely serves its purpose. It has up to date wall posts, photos, videos, and talking points. I sent a message to the campaign asking how I can get involved, and I received a response within 6 hours. I also like how this Facebook page remembered the people’s voice as it allowed them to post photos and be the administrators. However, the social network overseer isn’t doing a good job monitoring the pictures. There were a lot of “spam images” that had nothing to do with Ron Paul or politics. Nevertheless, the discussion boards were informative and active; they were not used for ranting and raving from what I saw after a week of observations.

Their Twitter was another active social network tool, but I do not feel that the campaign strategists used this technique well. All they did was share links and use hash tags. There was no re-tweeting, picture/video sharing, of any kind. Pretty boring Twitter page if you ask me. I barely went on this page to look up the news when I could get the same information on the main website and Facebook page.

Their use of YouTube channel had its goods and bads. They have uploaded (183) and favorited (116) a lot of videos; they are truly active. But, the videos are long! They range anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, which is just over the human’s average attention span of 3 minutes.

Lastly, I explored their MySpace page. This page needs the most work. According to their page their last log in was April 3, 2010. I wouldn’t usually complain about a MySpace page since I feel it is a dying breed, but if this were the first page somebody visited they would be discouraged and not come back. Additionally, it is not consistent to the other pages. The wall posts are irrelevant to the overall message of the campaign. Lastly, the overall layout is obnoxious to look at. The photos dominant the MySpace account. I have to scroll to the bottom of the page to get some meat. I would recommend using a Flickr account to store these images.

Wow, this is definitely my longest critique, but there was a lot to talk about. I can conclude that these strategists definitely the main points of working in the Internet age, which include posting recent information. But, they fail to realize posting recent information is meaningless if you don’t remember your audience and encourage interaction. Their blog design of their webpage is not gathering a lot of comments. In fact, when I read the comments this week, two of the five on this one article were spam. Their Facebook page is definitely the best effort, but I feel it can be expanded greatly.

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