“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” (Abraham Maslow, 1966)
Most political campaigns rely on the same old ways of generating donations. It is hard to argue with the logic. It has worked for generations of politicians. However, what it has never done well is to generate money from younger donors. The truth is that most campaigns fail at picking up both the money and the votes of the younger incoming classes of people.
What is the answer that most people go to for this problem? More of the same because that is what is understood that you should do. In fact, it was not until recently where email programs were integrated into political campaigns. How long ago was it? It was the 2012 election where many articles noted that Obama’s secret weapon for fundraising and message was email.
However, if you brought up email to the newer generation of donors or voters and they would scoff. Sure, they have it and they use it. However, it is not where they are, because where they are is on social media platforms and streaming platforms.
Granted, the age group of the people who use social media does trend younger than you may want. Yet, there are a great number of people who do use the systems, have spending power, and are of voting age. For example, during June 2019, a streamer named Dr. Lupo raised 1 million dollars while playing Fornite.
The wrong way to go about this is to jump on a stream right out of the gate. Sure, you will get people to visit you but the high likelihood is that these are people who already know you and like you. If you want more money and more donations then you will have to build your community there. It is not to say that it is easy or that you will not be attacked by the random online troll, however, you can make this much easier by joining the community as they are already.
The problem most politicians have when entering a new stream is that they try to act as they have elsewhere. They do not join the conversation. They try to mold the conversation to what they know already. Again, if you choose this route, your job is to become a part of the conversation and not try to change it.
Have other politicians do this? Yes. The most recent case was AOC playing Among Us with some of the most popular YouTubers and Twitch streamers around. The Guardian said, “AOC played Among Us and achieved what most politicians fail at acting normal”. Irrespective of political standing, either party has a lot to gain by joining conversations instead of trying to force it to change. AOC even managed to pull off a term, in game, called “marinating.” Marinating, in game, means gaining the trust of another player until they do trust you. Subsequently, you kill them afterward. The result of being “in the conversation” was obvious.
“Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitch channel garnered a staggering audience of 439,000 viewers, all watching her in real-time (the record for a Twitch stream is about 628,000 concurrent viewers) with approximately 5.2 million viewers watching the stream in aggregate.” (Rivera, 2020)
You can do the same as long as you realize that, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” You are a guest in their culture and respecting that culture and entering it like one of them will get you the donations and eyeballs you want.
Rivera, J., 2020. AOC Played Among Us And Achieved What Most Politicians Fail At: Acting Normal. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/games/2020/oct/22/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-ilhan-omar-among-us-twitch-stream-aoc> [Accessed 9 December 2020].
Dumenco, S., 2020. Never Mind Social Media. This Was The Obama Campaign’s Real Secret Weapon. [online] Adage.com. Available at: <https://adage.com/article/the-media-guy/mind-social-media-obama-campaign-s-real-secret-weapon/238231> [Accessed 9 December 2020].
Tassi, P., 2020. ‘Fortnite’ Legend Dr.Lupo Pulls Off A Record-Breaking Charity Stream Raising Nearly $1M. [online] Forbes. Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2019/06/23/fortnite-legend-drlupo-pulls-off-a-record-breaking-charity-stream-raising-nearly-1m/?sh=e161b745dc4c> [Accessed 9 December 2020].