The New Influencers: Stephen DeMaura
BY Fred Stutzman | Wednesday, April 11 2007
Stephen DeMaura is the creator of the anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook group Stop Hillary Clinton: (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary). His group has attracted over 167,000 members, 40,000 of which have signed up in April alone. As a new influencer in the race to 2008, Techpresident asked Stephen a few questions about his work developing and marketing the Facebook group.
Fred Stutzman (TechPresident): What is the story behind "Stop Hillary Clinton: (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary)" - how did you get the idea, and get the group started?
Stephen DeMaura: Stop Hillary Clinton: (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary) started just like any other grassroots organization, with an idea and a bit of organizing. The central premise of organizing the group was the idea that to many on the right and the left Hillary Clinton is a polarizing and unacceptable candidate for President- yet there existed no unifying force to express that sentiment.
When the group launched it took us only a day to reach 100 members and only another to get to 1,000. From there we had the seeds of the organization.
FS: How did you get the word about the group out there? Did you reach out to people? Just let it grow organically? Did you market the idea?
SD: We decided to manage the group just as you would any other grassroots organization. We reached out to particular influentials on Facebook and to likely adversaries of Senator Clinton. Once the initial seeds were sown though the group began to take on a life of its own, to the point now where we have literally thousands of people joining each and every day.
FS: Recently, membership in the group has really picked up steam - to what do you attribute this?
SD: There could be a number of factors. The largest I believe is the viral nature of facebook. With the advent of news feeds and the ease with which you can spread the message the more members you have the faster you are able to grow.
FS: What do you hope to do with this group? Who do you hope to reach, and how do you plan on leveraging your substantial base?
SD: I have received numerous messages saying,"your members don't vote," or "your members don't actually count because they are online," and they often point to the enormous volume of statistics that youth don't vote in high percentages in this country. In reality though, it is the youth that knock on doors, it is the youth that make phone calls, it is the youth that are the backbone of many grassroots organizations in this country.
FS: What role do you see groups like these playing in the 2008 election? What strategies should group creators take to maximize the impact of their groups?
SD: We have already seen the growth of groups such as these, but politicians on the left and especially on the right are far behind in utilizing new media technologies to deliver their messages so the ability for them to use these tools effectively seems unlikely.
Stop Hillary Clinton: (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary) has 167,048 members at press time.