The midterms and fights in Washington will dominate news coverage in 2018, but the day-to-day stories will play out against a fast-changing backdrop. The electorate is evolving, and so is the technology campaigns will use to reach the people in it. Digital politicos should watch these three big digital campaigning trends in the year to come.
Adapting to a brave new Facebook
For the Trump team in 2016, Facebook eclipsed TV ads and phone banks as a way to reach voters. But for campaigns hoping to emulate their social-media success, the rules changed early in 2018.
Facebook announced as the year kicked off that the all-important News Feed would now emphasize posts from friends and family, particularly ones sparking conversation. These "engaging" posts from friends would push out content created by Facebook Pages, including those run by political campaigns and advocacy organizations. How will campaigns react?
Some will try to leverage the new reality by actively recruiting supporters to join in social media outreach. Rapid response team members would sign up to receive notice, usually via email or text, when a campaign has high-priority photos, videos, donation asks or other content that could benefit from grassroots amplification.
More broadly, campaigns will experiment with integrating social media into their overall field outreach, perhaps replacing envelope-stuffing with Facebook messaging and texts. And since Facebook is encouraging Page owners to create Groups for person-to-person conversation among their supporters, campaigns may find them a good venue for social media organizing.