We all know that social media has a powerful influence; we have entire websites dedicated to it. Honestly, how many times have you checked your Facebook today? How often have you tweeted? How frequently do you take little breaks from work to check out the latest Youtube video?
Most of us also know what social media can do for a political campaign, yet I don’t think I’ve seen anything like what’s currently happening in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Tennessee.
Have you heard of Basil Marceaux? My first digital encounter with Basil Marceaux came from a video link shared on Facebook. From the comments I could see that not too many people took him seriously and most were shocked that he was actually a candidate for governor.
Two weeks have passed since my initial viewing. Since then I’ve seen his political ads linked on Facebook and retweeted on Twitter. I’ve seen him mentioned on E’s The Soup and Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. He was even interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Try and Google search the words Marceaux and governor. Want to take a guess at the number of hits? 1,290,000. The next closest is Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey with 1,050,000, followed by U.S. Representative Zach Wamp with 884,000 and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam with 776,000.
Basil Marceaux has gone viral. It wasn’t because of a flashy website, smart television ads, or touring all across the state to meet voters. It was because of the wide spread use of social media. Will he win the Republican primary today? I doubt it. Yet, you can bet Marceaux has as much, if not more, name recognition than every candidate running for governor here in Tennessee. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the power of social media.