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New Media: In Conversation With Melissa Ryan

“There is no harder riddle to solve in politics than reaching young Americans who are very interested in the future of their country but don’t engage with traditional news,” Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Obama once told the New York Times and he may be right. We were lucky to get a chance to speak to Melissa Ryan, Director of Client Services at Trilogy Interactive about the idea of “traditional media” and other facets of the current political climate in the US. Trilogy Interactive are a company who specialize in Interactive design, strategic communication, and technology for political campaigns, causes, non-profit organizations and public affairs.

From your previous work at Emily's List and now, Trilogy Interactive, digital presence really provides a strong foot-hold for any political candidate. Do you think this has replaced traditional media outlets such as newspaper or TV?

M: Rather than replaced them I think digital has changed what TV and newspapers are. Newspapers have large digital presences, and TV now includes streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. People don't view the world as being online or offline anymore. Campaigns need to adopt the same mindset in communicating to and mobilizing voters.

You spoke recently about the "shiny objects" that are Medium, Snapchat, and Instagram. How will campaigns infiltrate these new social media platforms with advertising in your opinion?

M: As was pointed out in the Washington Post last week, Medium is the new op-ed. Why bother with trying to place an op-ed when you can put it on Medium and then get the press to cover it as a story? I also expect campaigns to use it for more long-form storytelling on the trail this year. Snapchat and Instagram both have a core base of users who are under 30. If you're looking to target those voters it's probably worth taking a look at both platforms.

As a digital strategist, where do you look to for the latest trends in the political sphere?

M: I follow what my colleagues and campaign veterans post on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the best articles and discussions come from those sources. I'm also always on the lookout for talented digital marketers in other fields to follow in the same way. Finally, I subscribe to just about every campaign email list and social media account I can and check in a couple of times a day. The best way to see the trends is to dive into the actual work being done.

For those running for office seeking to engage potential voters, to those who work in the political space trying to improve their own skill set, social engagement is the fuel that drives politics. Penetrating a specific audience can now be approached in several ways thanks to the likes of Snapchat and Periscope. These services are seen by many as a route into the Millennials that have shown little interest in traditional political messaging.

To find more about what Melissa and Trilogy Interactive can do for you , check them out here

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