Social Media's Role in Local Politics to Only Grow - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Social Media's Role in Local Politics to Only Grow

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No one denies that social media played a huge role in both of President Barack Obama's elections. And while most of the candidates in the upcoming primaries here in Nevada have active websites for sharing their views and staying in touch with voters, not everyone agrees on how well it really works.

"In elections like this, social media makes no sense," says TMCC Political Science Professor Fred Lokken. "It just doesn't really reach actual voters. In fact you can have a huge network of 'friends' and they may live a world away and can't even vote here."

University of Nevada Political Science Professor Eric Herzik doesn't see it that way.

"Social media is a tool. It's an important tool in all levels of politics. It's a growing way to reach voters...your voters," Herzik says.

"We know who uses social media like Facebook and it's younger individuals who aren't serious about voting in this kind of an election," Lokken counters. "Unless you can guarantee that you have a sizable number of white male property owners who vote and they are generally retired too. Because that is who the bulk of our voters will be here in Nevada and those are not the folks that social media is in contact with."

"But these days you can't afford to leave any voters out. You have to use all you have to reach every one of them. And this is a tool that will only continue to grow," says Herzik.

There's no question that the voters will be split a lot of ways in some of the primary elections, but we should be able to see just the real role social media plays when we see the results of the primary coming in June 10th.

Written by Erin Breen
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