In a sign of how much political campaigns have learned to embrace the on-line social network of blogs, twitter, facebook and you tube, Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke hosted a live-streamed Social Media Summit on Saturday.
While he was chatting on-line and in person with the group, Locke also unveiled his business plan for the city of Houston, which focuses on ethics, accountability, job growth and entrepreneurship.
The interactive discussion was moderated by Matt Nathan, with Houston Technology Center, and lasted about forty-five minutes to an hour.
Locke appeared to be at ease while he sat at at a table , in front of a camera, and fielded questions from people in the room and over the Internet.
Each time Locke answered a question or talked about his vision for Houston, the bloggers were able to update their followers instantly, via facebook, twitter and other methods of instant messaging.
This is another tool that campaigns are using to effectively get their message directly to the voters, without always having to rely on the mainstream media.
During the discussion, Locke stressed that social media now gives candidates like him an opportunity to, ” talk directly to the public in ways that were not dreamed of before.”
His campaign has hired a social media strategist, and if elected, Locke promised to utilize social media at city hall. He also vowed that his administration would be transparent and accessible.
Certainly Locke isn’t the only Houston mayoral candidate to recognize the power of new media.
Mayoral candidates Annise Parker and Peter Brown have both hired social media managers.
Their campaign information is constantly being updated on-line to make it easier for supporters and volunteers to stay informed.