Four years ago, Brittany Cohan (above), the Republican National Committee’s social media coordinator, was barely active in politics when then-candidate Barack Obama was using social media to turn online enthusiasm for him into money and votes.
Four years later, Cohan is at the nerve center of national politics, helping the RNC combat Democrats online. Cohan serves as the RNC’s ambassador to the blogging community in addition to helping the RNC shape its narrative, take apart liberal ones, and swiftly respond to attacks from Democrats. She uses Twitter and Facebook as her political battlefields, providing her online allies with ammunition they can use to defeat Democrats.
And on Tuesday, Cohan will get more institutional air cover to help her engage the online community when the RNC unveils its “Social Victory Center” Facebook application. Screenshots of the innovative tool, provided exclusively to Breitbart News, can be seen above and below.
The “Social Victory Center” is the brainchild of Andrew Abdel-Malik, who works in RNC’s political department.
Abdel-Malik told Breitbart News the Facebook application will be like a virtual “Facebook field office” because the application allows those who sign up for it to do many of things people can do at their local GOP headquarters. People can use the app for phone banking, to download state-specific infographics they can take to the PTA or hand out in their neighborhoods, and to share news items and talking points with fellow online activists. He said what makes the “Facebook field office” potentially more powerful--and influential--is it “eliminates geographical boundaries” and allows the RNC to engage volunteers at home. The application serves as a virtual “one-stop shop” for political activists.
“No matter who you are, or where you are, you get to be a key player because of this application,” Abdel-Malik said.
Just four years ago, Cohan was barely involved in politics.
A Republican operative, Marc Ross, encouraged her to join Twitter while she was volunteering for the McCain 2008 presidential campaign. But Cohan, who tweets actively and engagingly at “@bccohan,” did not fully embrace Twitter until a year later, when Tea Partiers she met at a 2009 rally convinced her to be more active on Twitter.
She plunged into the world of Twitter, and her online street fighting was noticed by political operatives, which led to jobs on a Wisconsin Senate campaign and in the office of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) before she came to the RNC in 2011, shortly after Reince Priebus was elected as its Chairman.
Cohan joined the RNC as Twitter was emerging as the place where the first draft of history was being written and fought over, and she says the GOP is better at getting its message amplified online than Democrats.
“I would rather have 2,000 followers that are actively engaged with everything that’s posted than 2,000,000 that don’t help amplify a message” Cohan said. “Far too many people get bogged down with statistics and forget that social media is about personally relating with people. You can’t fake a relationship with your follower base, and I think that’s why the GOP dominates especially on Twitter.”
The priority given to Abdel-Malik’s innovative idea and the swift rise of social media maestros like Cohan in the political ranks reflect how important media like Twitter are in forming and combating narratives.
Priebus has held receptions at RNC headquarters with bloggers and had multiple conference calls with social media influencers. RNC communications director Sean Spicer has embraced using social media as part of his broader communications strategy. His deputy communications director, Tim Miller, who was formerly the press secretary for the failed presidential bid of Jon Huntsman, was ahead of the curve in using Twitter during the 2012 election cycle and is a fierce online combatant.
Spicer told Breitbart News that social media and blogger outreach is a “central and critical piece of our messaging,” because “countless issues, stories and narratives are generated from the blogs and social media,” which forces the mainstream media to address these issues.
Cohan calls this “trickle up journalism,” and she will play a central role in accelerating the trickling up of information from the grassroots to the top echelons of the 2012 campaign.
“Her credibility and network with the leaders in social media and blogs has been invaluable,” Spicer said. “Many times our messaging strategy begins with her getting the word out through her network to begin to drive a strong narrative. We are better, faster and stronger because of her efforts.”
And the “Social Victory Center” will make Cohan--and the RNC--even more formidable online.