I2M Presents Research Findings on the Best (and Worst) Uses of Social Media

As more people use technology each month – from the Internet to mobile phones to both – our habits and expectations change. We start to evolve, and the technology evolves with us. This creates an environment of digital Darwinism: political organizations and associations can either adapt or slowly die off.

Julie Barko Germany, Director of George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, will be sharing her latest research on how groups are successfully (and unsuccessfully) using social media to advance their causes, and how you can apply those findings to your outreach efforts. She serves as the director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet and director of marketing and communications for The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

Julie is the principal author and editor of several publications, including Constituent Relationship Management for State Legislators, Best Practices for Political Advertising Online, Constituent Relationship Management: The New Little Black Book of Politics, and Person-to-Person-to-Person: Harnessing the Political Power of Online Social Networks and User-Generated Content, as well as The Politics-to-Go-Handbook: A Guide to Using Mobile Technology in Politics and The Political Consultants’ Online Fundraising Primer. She co-authored Putting Online Influentials to Work for Your Campaign, and she has authored chapters in Voting in America and Rebooting America. She has appeared in national and international newspapers, magazines, and media, including MSNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, CBS, and NBC. In 2008 Julie was honored as a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections’ Politics Magazine.

I asked Julie to share a snapshot of her research findings.

Q: What is one or two of the biggest misperceptions among political involvement professionals about social media tools?

A: There are two primary ones. First, there is a misperception that social media will help them push out their ads for free. Second, that only kids and 20 year-olds use social media.

Q: You do a lot of research on digital democracy. Have you had any of your personal beliefs and assumptions challenged by your findings?

A: Many people claim that a censored Internet cannot survive, but this isn’t the case in China. The Chinese Internet exists behind what we call the “Great Firewall of China,” but it’s a vibrant, complex place that is indeed thriving.

Q: What’s one thing our conference attendees might do differently after attending your workshop?

A: Act intuitively – and most important, effectively – with social media.

Join us at I2M 2010: register online at