Photo Friday

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The view from my new apartment in Sarasota

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Photo Friday

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One of the many species of birds that hangs out on Siesta Key Beach

Sarasota elections get social

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Infographics. Politics. Social media.

Three of my favorite topics converged on each other last week for one awesome assignment. A young Sarasota politico, Christian Ziegler, won his race for Sarasota’s Republican State Committeeman in the August 14 primary election. Ziegler competed against some high-profile characters in this race for a somewhat obscure position that typically flies under the rader. Being the youngest in the field with only a $1,000 campaign budget, Ziegler might not have been everyone’s first guess as the winner. But he won. And he claimed he did it through social media. My mission, which I accepted with open arms, was to create an infographic showing just how he did it.

This assignment was a perfect showcase for how the social revolution can benefit journalism. People have chosen to make so much information available to anyone who wants to see it. Teachers in college always complained when us students were Facebooking on our laptops when we should’ve been paying attention to their lectures. Well, in this example, all that time on Facebook may have taught me more than my teacher.

To create this graphic, I buried myself in Ziegler’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Yes. I got paid to Facebook creep. It was a long process, but I was really able to learn a lot about how Ziegler won his race. He was the only one of his competitors to have a Facebook campaign page. He used it to tell his supporters how to register to vote, about himself and his views, about what exactly this position he’s running for is… but most importantly, he used it to respond. He answered nearly every post made on his page, sometimes with a video response. He seemed to have really made an effort to communicate with the people he was hoping to represent.

Here’s the graphic I came up with. Click the image to see it with it’s accompanying story by Nick Friedman on YourObserver.com.

Christian Ziegler's Social Success