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The Influence of Social Media on Elections: An Interview with Neenz, Part 2

Hopefully you saw part one of this interview (link at the end of this post) with L.P. Neenz Felafine. Here are more insights from her about the great value of social media and how it’s shaping politics today.

Q: What are some ways you see social media changing the face of politics in the United States?

A: One way that social media is changing politics is that governance is changing. The laws are having to catch up with the medium. There’s a lot of grey area in the laws as far as content and discussion.

An insight into the use of social media is that “people are not dumb.” I believe that when given two sets of information, one factual and the other not quite, people will be able to discern between the two and more often than not identify truth. These days, television and radio commercials and flyers are not the last word. People receive their news from a variety of sources and when prompted will do their research, and share their knowledge.

This brings me to another insight one that I received from my mentor (and man in my life) Guy Kawasaki. He said, “Nobodies are the new somebodies.” It’s such a true statement. Social media tools have transformed traditional consumers of media into publishers making word-of-mouth one of the most powerful global marketing tools. In today’s social networks, anyone can become what the industry likes to call an influencer.

But there are caveats to influencers in the social media community. Another insight is that because it’s about relationships, “social media marketing” is very intimate. Evangelists, social media marketers, community builders, whatever the title, is personally interacting with individual people on the candidate’s behalf. This person needs to have earned the trust of the community, through engagement and providing value. Genuine relationships, the kind that change the world and win elections cannot be bought, they must be earned.

More on this intimacy is that while marketing is hovering thousands of feet above its targeted audience, social media marketing is up close and personal. Marketers cannot hide behind their clients and just tweet. The same way campaigns should choose their social media marketer wisely, so should social media marketers choose their clients.

It’s a very delicate balance, one I continue to work very hard at achieving.

Q: How has social media changed your life?

A: My participation on social networking sites, my passion to absorb and learn about this ever evolving industry called social media has changed my life in so many, many different ways than I could imagine. To begin with, a random tweet connected me with Guy Kawasaki (http://www NULL.guykawasaki NULL.com/) – one of the leaders not only in this industry, but in technology. I will always be grateful for my friendship with Guy, he changed my life.

Social media has allowed me to participate, experience, and introduce its power to one of the most eventful election seasons in the history of the State of Hawaii.

I’ve been able to connect with some amazing people across the globe, many of whom I not only call my friends, but my family.

Soon after the election, I was afforded an opportunity to work at one of Hawaii’s leading R&D firms, Oceanit (http://www NULL.oceanit NULL.com/index NULL.php). In one word, Oceanit is innovation – and working in that type of culture and environment is rewarding in itself.

All of these things occurred because I made the choice to follow my curiosity, to participate and learn this medium, to use social media to build relationships, to build communities. May this journey continue to be prosperous. 🙂

Here’s more about Neenz (http://faleafine NULL.com/). And please give her a shout to say thanks (http://twitter NULL.com/neenz) for these insights!

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