Councilman Redd sponsors Facebook posts
Social media websites have made it easier and cheaper for politicians to get their message out to constituents. It frees them from having to use journalists, a group that is taught to question their message, and from having to take out T.V. or newspaper ads, which are pretty expensive.
But one of the problems with social media sites like Facebook – which is the most popular site for local Clarksville politicians – is that the popularity of a post has a direct correlation to how many people will see it. So, rather than being at the mercy of a journalist, politicians are at the mercy of Facebook’s algorithms.
There is of course one way to beat Facebook’s algorithm – pay them.
And that’s what City Councilmember Wallace Redd has decided to do for three of his recent Facebook posts.
“Very seldom do I sponsor something, if it’s got something to do with the budget and I want my constituents to know I sponsor it to get the word out there,” Redd told me today.
Here are pictures of all three posts, notice the “sponsored” insignia just below Wallace Redd’s name:
If you scroll your mouse over the sponsor insignia you can see that Redd has paid for the post to show up more prominently on the Facebook feeds of his friends:
The majority of the members of the City Council have taken to Facebook, but Redd was the first that I could find sponsor his own content. Twitter isn’t as widely used, with only Councilman Joel Wallace and Councilman Nick Steward active on the site.
Mayor Kim McMillan has a fairly inactive profile on Twitter, which has had one post over the last year.
Redd said he prefers Facebook over the city’s e-mail system, which Councilman Bill Summers and Councilwoman Deanna McLaughlin both use heavily to send updates to constituents, because he is a libertarian and doesn’t want to use city resources that aren’t available to everyone and because he likes that Facebook doesn’t flood people’s e-mail inbox.
“It’s immediate,” Redd said today. “And it’s not emailed to you in a massive emailed system. Because, I know some council members [do that] and that’s fine that they use that, but they send out all of these emails and has got to do with every little nuance they get from the city. I think people just delete a lot of that stuff, but if it’s just on Facebook and you put on something that you think, it’s out there more.”
Redd said he may pay to sponsor more of his posts, especially if he hosts another town meeting.