By Chris Forbes

Since the days of Abe Lincoln and the telegraph Republicans have been pioneers in the use of technology. In those days advanced technology was deployed in the Civil War. Today, a political Cyber War is being waged using technology. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you are not using blogging and social media, you are making a huge tactical mistake!” Wait, I think he said that, I may have read it on Wikipedia…or somewhere…

Anyway, I’m sure you have seen enough of idiotic celebrity Tweets, shirtless photos of politicans, and read enough foul commentary on perfectly decent YouTube videos or Facebook posts to realize social media can be used for bad. Perhaps it’s enough to scare you away from using social media. Don’t let it!

Keep in mind social media can be used for good too! Sure conservatives are under fire and the Libs are coming for our guns, craft stores, and waffle fries–but on the other hand, these same folks have also been massively supported using conservative social media activism.

Regardless whether you want to use social media, it has become a must-have political tool. In the last Presidential election, George W. Bush-style campaign micro-targeting and extensive social media data were combined by the DNC to mobilize advocates and voters against the GOP. Now, more than ever it is important for candidates and elected officials to learn to use these media effectively.

Back in the olden days–you know, like in 2012–national candidates were mostly the ones who had to worry about online opposition from Lefty bloggers and “flame” attacks on social media from organized activist groups. In the future–you know, like right now–national opposition is the next thing coming to local candidates as the opposition seeks to carve away at the stronghold the GOP is gaining in many states.

I am not going to try to convince you further of the need for actively engaging in social media. Not taking electronic media seriously could cause you to become a causality in the digital age. If you are not managing your message online, someone else will do it for you!

It’s time to add these media to your political arsenal. In the next several blog posts I will give a few basic insights that can help you make the most of digital media for election campaigning and communicating with constituents while in office. We will cover blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I will also discuss the benefits and possibilities found in advertising on these social media.

Stay tuned, we have a lot more to cover!

Chris Forbes (ChrisForbes.org) is a frustrated ex-comic, Indie Film Marketer, & Co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits.” As an Oklahoma-based social media strategist he has been leading political social media campaigns since 2009. Follow @cforbesoklahoma on Twitter.