The best of the rest: Social networks that elected officials probably aren’t using but may want to

Everyone knows about Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.  These are, of course, the most popular social networks right now, and as a result, they are great places for you to invest your valuable time when it comes to connecting with your constituents via social media.  However, they are not the be-all, end-all in this arena.  To that end, here’s a brief look at some niche social networks – and ones that may be worth your investment:

Ask.fm:  The premise here is easy: Ask a question, and get a response.  To that end, you can use the network to solicit feedback, generate ideas and answer questions from others.  That being said, Ask.fm has had its share of issues – in 2013, it was linked to nine cyber-bullying deaths.  If question and answer services are really your thing, Quora may be the better way to go.

SnapchatSnapchat allows for you to send a text message, with a picture, that deletes after a set period of time.  To that end, it has built a somewhat seedy reputation as a service primarily used for sexting.  However, that reputation is not entirely fair, and Snapchat is a great way to connect with constituents (particularly younger ones) in a non-traditional method.  You can send group texts via Snapchat – this allows for mass-communication and for you to broadcast a message to a large group of people.

Tumblr:  Tumblr is blogging gone easy.  It’s format is slightly different than other blogging services in that it is more stripped down.  As a result, it’s easier to maintain and to use.  It’s format tends to be very image and video friendly, which is certainly a preferred way to communicate if you are going to blog.  It also has a “reblogging” function that integrates one of Twitter’s best functions – the retweet.  However, if you are looking for a format that is better for more in-depth blog entries, other formats (like WordPress, which is what I use) may be more preferable.

SoundcloudSoundcloud allows for audio files to be uploaded and shared.  To that end, it is great for music but can also work well for speeches that can be easily integrated onto your website or other social networking platforms.  Even better is that you can record an audio file from your iPhone, which makes it easy for you to speak into your phone and go.  I maintain that YouTube is a better option, but if you can’t get a camera working, this is a good way to go.

Any others to add?  Agree or disagree with any of these?  Let me know in the comments!

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