#DearNextPresident: our experience in Queens and social media progress

Our first conservative messages and some positive surprises on Twitter and Anchor marked this past #dearnextpresident week.

Last Sunday, the #DearNextPresident team went to the Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens for one more round of interaction with New Yorkers. The location, a very beautiful park that we highly recommend visiting, ended up being both positive and negative for the project.

There were three basic groups of people in the park: parents with kids, tourists and visitors laying on deck chairs to relax. The first group was too busy to talk to us, the second thought they weren’t qualified to send a message to the president of a foreign country and the third we felt bad bothering. No wonder, Queens was the borough we got the least interactions so far. However, not everything was lost. The people that actually stopped to talk to us were in a very good mood because of the weather and took their time to discuss the project and give consistent messages.

Another positive aspect about our interactions was that most of them included mid-30s adults, a public we find it difficult to talk to, because of some “blockage” involving social media. This time, we heard from a lot of parents, presenting always an interesting perspective of the country and offering good, cutie pictures with their kids.

Queens was also the borough that gave us our first conservative messages. Our interactions usually happen with citizens that had a tendency towards liberal thoughts. In this past week, we got some “pro-Israel” and aversion for “neoliberal polititians” quotes. We thought this was very interesting, because it brings diversity for our project and reveals another side of New York.

Next stop: New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Updates will come next week.

Now moving on to our social media strategy

It’s been a week since we started posting daily questions about politics at Anchor. The app has some categories that can be used as hashtags, like “news” and “stories”, that work not only to structure search, but also to find people and to be found in the network. Our followers have more than doubled since we started the questions and it has been a source of motivation for us.

Our strategy for Instagram has been following political/campaign journalists and social media editors to call attention for our project. It has been working and we have been followed back by some of them. A problem that we have started to deal with this past week was ghost followers/likes. Our main intention is not to have big numbers, but to create an impact by building a strong community of empowered citizens that have a platform to voice their concerns and make a better country. Ghost followers don’t help with that. By stating this, I’m happy to say that two followers have created posts with our hashtag. One told an emotional story about medicinal marijuana and the other asked for improvements in human rights. We thank them very much!

And last but no least, Twitter surprised us. In the beginning of our project, we had decided to not focus on this specific social network. However, since Fusion had previously created an account for the project, we were only reposting content from Anchor and Instagram. Last week, we observed that we have gained 13 new followers and received a ton of retweets, likes and some comments from the content we were reposting. We were very happy to notice this and since yesterday we have been developing a better, more targeted plan for the hashtag on Twitter.

Next: we will start working with chat apps! Stay tuned for our phone number. You will be able to interact with us via text message and WhatsApp.

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Like #DearNextPresident? Follow us on Twitter @dearnextprez , Instagram and Anchor @dearnextpresident

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