AUSTIN (Nexstar) — In the 21st Century, some say being social media savvy is a requirement. Just ask Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
One way Abbott prepared for next week’s special session to begin was to meet with lawmakers about issues he wanted to address in the legislature.
He posted a series of tweets of those meetings, including photos of him around the table with State Senators and Representatives. The tweets mentioned topics such as “local gov. spending reform,” and “worker’s paychecks & integrity of the ballot box,” as well as “oppressive local control.” Experts said the Governor’s approach to push his agenda seemed to be working to a certain degree.
“[The Governor’s] office has been communicating directly with the public using social media, Twitter, Facebook, which is a great way to get in front of people without having to spend money on ads,” said John Graham, Chief Business Analyst for Austin-based company Headway SEO.
“I think it’s super powerful, a way of direct communication,” Graham added.
“Public officials like the governor or president take to Social Media for a few reasons,” said Andy Gonzalez of public relations firm Speak Social. “They like to rally the troops and gain public support for the bills they are trying to push, bring awareness to topics relevant to their constituents and in some cases, attack the opposition or pressure those in their same party to tow the line.”
Abbott took to Facebook Live in May, broadcasting his signature of Senate Bill 4, the state’s ban on sanctuary cities.
Abbott’s spokesperson, John Wittman, said in the 21st Century, Abbott and his team are “utilizing all forms of communication, including twitter, to advance the governor’s message.”
Both Graham and Gonzalez agreed there was a long way to go before politicians reach their social media peaks.
“I think we’re just starting to see the beginning of it,” Graham stated. “I think it’s going to be more and more common in the future, and it just needs to be monitored.”
“The use of Social Media among politicians is still in its early stages,” Gonzalez added. “As this continues to catch on and as other elected officials mimic the things that work for their colleagues, having an elected official go live on Facebook to speak to their constituents will become the norm. More and more, with each passing day, Twitter and Facebook are becoming cornerstone pieces to any successful political campaign. Having this type of deep access to the people we vote into office should be nothing but wonderful … but as we see with the President Trump’s twitter feed, it can also be used in a very disturbing way and in doing so, digitally empower the darkest and ugliest parts of the internet.”
Abbott posted on Facebook about a “special announcement” in San Antonio this Friday, with an opportunity for Texans to RSVP. It is unclear what exactly his appearance will address.