For the spring 2007 elections, many candidates took their platforms from paper to online Web sites.
Beyond placing a face on the side of the Venom Express bus or placing a flashing sign on Wahnish Way, candidates took a non-traditional path to social networking. Sites include pages for the hopefuls’ bios, platforms, events and guestbooks for some.
In previous years, classic pamphlets or fliers with a picture said, “Vote 4 me.” Now candidates for student body president and vice president, Mr. FAMU and Miss FAMU have attempted to reach students everywhere they are, especially online.
James Bland, 21, junior, business administration student from Titusville, is running alongside Monique Gillum for student body president and vice president with “The Torch” platform. He created their Web site www.gillumbland.com by himself.
“We’re always online,” Bland said. “I believe in meeting the people where you are. And if they’re online, that’s where we’ll go.” The Web site had 40 comments in the guestbook as of Thursday.
According to the site, Gillum and Bland’s slogan is “Igniting the Students, Guiding the Movement.” Photos were taken by B Mac Images. Brandon McCaskill is a freshman journalism student.
Bland is a Web site designer, and he feels he is the only candidate who created the “dot com” site without outside help. Free social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace were also used, and 518 members were in the Facebook group “Monique Gillum & James Bland for President and Vice President.”
Not to be outdone, Gillum’s and Bland’s opponents Cyrah Hawkins and Tallie Brinson III formed www.cyrahandtallie.com. “Together we make the D.E.A.L.” is their acronym for “Delivering Equality And Leadership.”
Tallie Brinson III, 22, a senior music education from Atlanta, said from pop-up flashes to background music, as well as stating the facts, their campaigning was trying to corner all aspects of technology with the Web site. Their Facebook group “CYRAH & TALLIE FOR SGA PRESIDENT & VICE PRESIDENT” had 24 members as of Thursday evening.
Mr. and Miss FAMU took their campaign platforms to the online arena as well.
Jeremy Mounticure, 20, a business administration student from Birmingham, Ala. is apart of FAMU’s ROTC program and used an Army theme for his campaign for Mr. FAMU.
Mounticure’s site is www.gojeremy.com. His slogan is “Creating a FAMU of ONE, starting with you.” He said the site’s purpose is to increase awareness and to give information because he cannot physically be everywhere to explain his platform to each student. Mounticure’s guestbook had 42 signatures as of Thursday.
Some candidates said they can only put a limited amount of information on Facebook and MySpace, but Web sites allow more room to express their creativity.
John Williams, a 21-year-old agribusiness student from Baconton, Ga., is also running for Mr. FAMU. He created the site www.jw4famu.com, which he said comes from the license plate on his car from freshman year. Focusing on the “F.I.R.E. of FAMU” is the title of his campaign.
Some candidates said they do not think Web sites are the most effective way to reach students.
“I feel it’s going out and speaking to students and letting them know what you’re about,” said Benjamin Petrose, 23. The senior broadcast journalism student from Pensacola is running for Mr. FAMU.
Only one candidate for Miss FAMU has a site, but other runners have used technology creatively as well.
“You need someone that will not just talk about it, but be about it,” said Ashley Johnson, 20, a junior pharmacy student from Miami. She expresses the “Essence” of the Rattler on www.voteashley.com. Ads by google.com are on the side of this site.
Sheerie Edwards used another free resource that students at FAMU use daily, the groundbreaking site Youtube.com. Edwards and her campaign team created a short campaign commercial to draw the attention of potential voters on Facebook.
Jina Haynes, 20, a junior business administration student from Dallas also did not create a Web site.
“I just didn’t have time to make one,” she said. Outside of using Facebook and MySpace, Haynes used t-shirts, fliers, a bus and billboard for publicity.
While the Web sites show candidates resourcefulness, one student said the outlets were unnecessary because more popular methods are already in place.
“Yes, I totally agree with social networking, but these other sites are not needed because almost everyone has a MySpace or Facebook (account),” said Milburn Dilverna, 22, a junior political science student from Orlando.