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For a Second Year, House Republicans Compete to Win the Internet

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 10 2011

Rep. Cathy McMorris, the House Republican Conference's vice chair, manages to blend an announcement of the kick-off of the second annual GOP New Media Challenge with some digs that the online performance of her colleagues on the other side of the aisle:

Over the past two years, House Republicans have come to dominate the online space. As we learned with last year’s Challenge, a little friendly competition goes a long way to helping Members break out of the mold, and get even more creative online. But it’s not enough to lead the way in the House with more than 80% of our Conference using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. To effectively communicate our positive agenda, we have to continue to be innovative in our approach. Put simply, the New Media Challenge helps our Members more effectively communicate, engage and listen to the American people.

Republican new media consultants joke that conservatives' love of competition makes them particularly attracted to online tools like leaderboards, and in the bracket-style House GOP challenge, members of Congress move onto the next round by getting likes, followers, and views on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Call it May Madness.

The House Republican Conference reports that more than a hundred representatives have signed up for this year's new media challenge, which is nearly double what it was last time around, when it was won by Reps. John Fleming of Louisiana, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, and Lamar Smith of Texas.

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