When it comes to social media, the oft-heard narrative of the 2012 election season is that the Democrats are the “social party,” and are more adept at using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. The Republicans, however, are trying to turn that logic on its head.
The Grand Old Party opened up a new media salvo with Tuesday’s launch of its “Social Victory Center,” billed as a one-stop-online-shop for Republican voters to organize, plan events and volunteer in local, state and national elections.
And it’s all baked directly into a Facebook app, allowing the GOP to capitalize on the relationships that users on the social network have already built with one another.
“With the Social Victory Center, we are revolutionizing the way activists and volunteers participate in Republican campaigns,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. “We’re breaking down geographic borders and connecting users to a nationwide grassroots network and a wealth of political resources.”
Users first register with a Facebook profile, and input additional informaiton such as their ZIP code and phone number. Then, they’re greeted by the “news” section, which features the latest Republican web ads and an assortment of Republican-friendly news stories, the selection of which depends on users’ location (a voter in Maine is going to see Maine-centric stories).
The three other sections, “events,” “discussions” and “volunteer,” are focused on building a community of active, engaged voters.
“Events” automatically shows nearby Republican events and candidate headquarters in a user’s neighborhood on the easy-to-read and familar Google Maps platform. It also allows users to schedule their own event, such as a telephone drive, and invite local Republican supporters to join in.
The “discussions” section has been designed as a place to get Republican voters talking with one another about the issues that matter to them, whether that’s the economy, gun control or student loans. This page’s goal is to connect voters with similar interests and make them feel their voices are being heard by the campaign and other voters.
Finally, “volunteer” is where the real social meat and potatoes lie. The section is built to get people off Facebook and into a local “Victory Center” (the Republican name for local field offices) to directly engage with a campaign. As with “events,” it builds a map based on users’ ZIP codes and shows them the address and contact information for these local outposts.
But what if a volunteer has an extra 30 minutes in his or her day and can’t make it to a local field office? No problem — users can make phone calls to registered voters through the app and their personal phone.
The Social Victory Center is built around Facebook’s Open Graph technology, the same code that powers apps such as Mashable‘s Social Reader. Any interactions that one user has with a piece of news, video or anything else on the platform will be shared deep into their social graphs, expanding the GOP’s reach and visibility.
The app will also feel comfortable to users, the Republican’s new media team says, because people are already familiar with Facebook and its myriad apps. Republicans built the app on Facebook instead of on their homepage, GOP.com, partially for that reason.
“There’s a huge comfort level there, especially with the use of [social graph] applications over the last couple of months — we saw a spike with things like Spotify and The Washington Post Social Reader,” said RNC digital director Tyler Brown. “People are comfortable with this.”
The Social Victory Center, Republican leaders believe, will give the party the edge it needs in both the online and offline race to the White House.
“The SVC, which leverages the technology of Facebook and Eventbrite, will give Republicans a distinct advantage in this campaign,” said RNC Political Director Rick Wiley.
Would you engage with a political campaign on a Facebook app? Tell us in the comments.
For more Social Media coverage:
- Follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter
- Become a Fan on Facebook
- Subscribe to the Social Media channel
- Download our free apps for Android, Mac, iPhone and iPad