How to speak Internet 

How to speak Internet 
Lessons from CampaignTech West: Know your audience and be ready to engage

Reaching the millennial generation through social media requires authenticity, humor and an unprecedented level of interactivity.

That's according to experts from BuzzFeed, Facebook and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).  

Americans born between 1982 and 2000 form a 82-million strong generation that is "the most connected generation and educated generation in human history," Benny Johnson, BuzzFeed's Viral Politics, said at CampaignTech West in San Francisco Tuesday. "If you're going to reach these kids, you have to compete with so much more."

BuzzFeed has had success using GIFs to create news analysis pieces in the vein of "Ferris Bueller Explains the Government Shutdown" or using "The Hills" to explain U.S. policy toward Syria.

"We speak to the Internet in a way it wants to be spoken to," said Johnson.

When it comes to engagement through Facebook, Katie Harbath, one of the social media giant's D.C. liaison's, said humor is a must. She pointed to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) borrowing a "Toy Story" meme to knock the Affordable Care Act.

"The more [politicians] can incorporate humor, and speak the language the internet is speaking, the more popular they can be," Harbath said.

She recommended posting content on your Facebook page at least once a day, five days a week. "Try to make sure you're always giving your fans content to engage with," she said.

Quality control is also a must, added Julie Samuels, a senior staff attorney at EFF whose organization maintains controls over which staffers post to its social media sites.

"We're really careful to protect our brand," she said. "I think it's really helped us a lot." 

Share this article


Submit a comment

Required field are marked with “*”.