Fritchey's Fun Facebook Feed

By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 30, 2009 6:00PM

If you're on Facebook (and who isn't, these days?), then you know that people use the social networking application not only to stay in touch, but also to share their thoughts and personal events with their network of friends and acquaintances. Social networking has become so prevalent in society that even politicians and elected officials use it communicate with constituents. Unfortunately, they tend to use it in a dry and almost "safe" way - sticking to an unwritten script of stating a position on an issue, thanking supporters/asking them to help support a campaign, piece of legislation or friendly candidate, and sharing information about issues the candidate is working to promote or support.

11th District state representative John Fritchey, however, breaks that mold. Fritchey is famous for his Facebook updates - in fact, he's pretty well known for embracing social media applications, from Twitter, to Facebook, to yes, even Blogger. "Social networking is an incredibly effective tool for elected officials - if properly used. It has the ability to not only open lines of communication but also to strengthen the relationships with your audience," Fritchey told us. "But the key is that it be genuine. My friends, personal and political, know that I write everything on my blog, post all my own Facebook material and do my own tweets, so they know that they're not only hearing from me, but hearing it in my own words." If you've spent any time at all connecting with Fritchey online, you know the authenticity of what he's putting out there - be it sharing news clips about regulating puppy mills in Illinois, discussing the hijinks in his district office, or asking for Halloween costume ideas.

"While I want to get my message out there, I also want to be myself. So when you look on my Facebook page, you're as likely to see one of my musical picks as you are to read about current political events. This approach not only lets me use social networking for its intended purpose of keeping in touch with friends, but it also brings political followers into the circle, which much more often then not, helps build their support. I think that a lot of elected officials aren't real comfortable with the idea of showing the amount of candor that I do online, but I think that for the most part, my followers appreciate it. At the end of the day, it's a fun and easy way to show your human side, which a lot of people forget that elected officials have."