House Dems playing catch-up with GOP on new media front

House Democrats are planning to hold a competition to bolster their presence online and catch up with their GOP counterparts, according to a staff memo obtained by The Hill on Friday.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) office is planning to launch a "Member Online All-Star Competition" and on Friday is holding a seminar for Democratic staff to encourage the use of social media tools. The seminar is being held in conjunction with the caucus' "New Media Working Group."

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Democrats appear to be organizing their social media push just over a month after House Republicans launched their "New Media Challenge," designed to expand their presence on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Details of the competition still remain unknown. 

The memo acknowledges that Democrats have ground to make up on Republicans, who claim they have dominated the majority party online. 

The e-mail notes "a timely article this morning on the urgency of this area," linking to a Mother Jones piece titled "Status Update: The GOP Became a Fan of Social Media."

"Who’s winning the social media war on Capitol Hill? The Republicans—and they are slaughtering the Democrats," the piece reads. 

Hoyer's office has not responded to a request for comment.

Last month, the staff of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said 79 percent of House GOPers are already on Facebook, 89 percent of them are currently using YouTube and 64 percent have taken to Twitter.

As vice chairwoman of the House Republican conference, McMorris Rodgers has undertaken oversight of new media activities for House Republicans. 

The Mother Jones article says "only 34 percent of Democratic House members were on Facebook and only 20 percent had hit Twitter."

Democrats, however, appear to be mobilizing to make up ground. 

"Learn why your office needs to create official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube," the memo reads. "Learn how to create accounts and basic strategies for using these sites. Learn specific strategies for becoming an All-Star in the upcoming competition."

Cross-posted from Hillicon Valley