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Campus Notebook: House Democrats Search for Social Network Mavens

House Democrats are launching their second annual Member Online All-Star Competition this week, a Caucus-wide contest to see which Member can bring in the most new followers on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Modeled after a House Republican effort that started in 2010, the three-week social media competition is managed by the office of Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.).

“Last year’s contest produced over 43,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and 50 new accounts from Members of the Democratic Caucus,” Hoyer said in a statement. “I am hopeful that Members will once again take this opportunity to increase their outreach to constituents and continue to engage their followers in creative and thoughtful ways.”

In an effort to drum up friendly competition within the Caucus, Members will vie to be the top recruiter of new Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers. About 75 percent of House Democrats are on Twitter, while about 89 percent are on Facebook, Hoyer spokeswoman Maureen Beach said Friday. The number for YouTube wasn’t immediately available.

Though the contest has no prizes, the top 50 Members and the top three committees will be named All-Stars, while the No. 1 new-media maven will be crowned the MVP. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico) were last year’s co-MVPs.

The House Republican Conference unveiled its first New Media Challenge in April 2010 and held another in May. The contests have been successful, according to the Conference.

In January 2009, 56 percent of House Republicans used YouTube, 37 percent used Facebook and 28 percent used Twitter. Now more than 80 percent of the Conference is on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, while more than 90 percent of its freshmen are on all three social media platforms, GOP Conference spokesman Patrick Bell said Friday.

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