Social networking can really make a difference. If people like something very much (that is if that something gets a lot of “likes”), it could even become a strong argument in congress. Of course the result may not be quite that easy to achieve, but it could become a powerful weapon if put in the right hands. What we're getting at here is the recent Poker Players Alliance's (PPA) social networking campaign to support internet poker legislation on Facebook, Twitter, and other means of online communication.
During the recent month-long recess of the US congress, the members of the PPA used this opportunity to reach out to as many members of congress as possible using all means of communication in order to make sure the PPA has congressional support on the issue. Not only did the PPA members attend local town hall meetings and visit the congressmen in their offices, but they also employed social networks to spread the word about online poker legislation issues. Their aim was to move poker fans all over the country in supporting the PPA in their battle to legalize online poker instead of reducing the budget deficit by raising taxes.
The PPA's vice president of player relations, Rich Muny went to Kentucky during the congressional break to meet with Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Kent.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.). Whereas a couple of other PPA members bragged on 2+2 about attending town hall meetings in Texas and Florida where they discussed online poker legislation with Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) and Rich Nugent (R-Fla.). Sen. Patty Murray's (D-Wash.), who is a member the deficit reduction super committee, aid was visited by a PPA member during the recess as well.
However, the most valuable tool in the hands of the Poker Players Alliance appears to be social networking – through the usage of Facebook, Twitter and the TwoPlusTwo.com Forums, Muny has drawn the poker community's attention and directed poker fans to attend the meetings with their congressmen as well as contact them by email and other means of communication. The results were outstanding – “likes” and comments on Facebook have reached triple digits (a new high in results) since the campaign took off in May.
“Participation went up dramatically during August,” said the PPA vice-president. “The guys did a great job. Most comments by others don't even get a single like, so for us to come in there in the hundreds is huge for the medium. There's great participation and very few anti-poker responses. I looked at it as a great August for us, especially with the super committee coming up.”
The deficit reduction committee, or the 'Super Committee's' first meeting took place on Thursday. The committee which deals with the US economy’s biggest problem on how to reduce the budget deficit is the one that poker players put their biggest hopes into. Although the online poker issue has not yet been discussed, the committee has until November 23 to come up with a plan which will then be passed to congress.
Still, it is not always the poker players who show the initiative of communicating with their congressman – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked his Twitter followers to send him questions that they would like to be answered in his next town hall meeting. Muny has quickly reacted to this suggestion and urged the PPA members to highlight the online poker legislation issue as much as possible. If you check the Twitter results for #AskReidTH, you will see a lot of people tweeting about online poker.
“What this does is, when our lobbyists show up to Congressional offices in D.C. in September, it will give them the ammo they need to back up what they're saying with the support of American citizens,” Muny commented on raising online poker awareness through social networks.
*Image courtesy of PokerNews.com