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Candidates Use Social Media In Midterm Elections

From President Barack Obama to the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, political figures across the nation have embraced social media.

And in Idaho, gubernatorial candidates Butch Otter and Keith Allred are tweeting, Facebooking and hitting YouTube on the campaign trail.

“Idaho is a geographically, widely dispersed state. There’s no one TV station that captures all those people. There’s no one newspaper that captures all those people. Internet does make it to more parts of Idaho than any one other medium,” said Shea Andersen, director of communications for Allred for Idaho.

Directors for both campaigns said social media is effective, inexpensive and sometimes a more personal connection to voters. But it’s not enough to just have a page.

“Content drives everything. So it’s one thing to have a Facebook page or Twitter page and all this, but if you’re not consistently adding new content, it doesn’t do you any good,” said Ryan Panitz, director of communications for Otter for Idaho.

Local News 8 went out to talk to voters about social media, but most said they don’t use it. They get their news from the traditional outlets.

“I don’t really buy it that they’re the ones updating their own Twitter and Facebook page,” said Craig Powell of Idaho Falls. “So it doesn’t matter to me where they put it.”

But still, some said it could be a good way to get a different perspective.

“Anything that’s more candid, yeah, I put more value in that,” said Idaho Falls resident Mike Myers.

Andersen said the election is no spectator sport, and Allred’s campaign will be putting out its most important message in the next few days. That is: go vote.

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