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Rounds Still Tech Dinosaur, Too Busy to Engage Voters Online

When he was Governor, Marion Michael Rounds didn't care much for e-mail and couldn't tell the difference between a PDF and a searchable database.

Five years later, U.S. Senate candidate Rounds remains a technological dinosaur:

Others, including Mike Rounds and Sen. Tim Johnson, are less hands-on. They say social media is important, but delegate tweets and Facebook posts under their names to aides.

“I’ll have a staff member that will actually put it on the system for me, but nothing goes out under my name unless I actually put it together and give it to them to put out,” said Rounds, a candidate for U.S. Senate. “I don’t do lots of it, normally because I’m working during the day. ... I don’t follow Twitter and I don’t follow Facebook” [David Montgomery, "S.D. Lawmakers: Facebook, Tweeting Vital to Reaching Voters," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.09.09].

One can use social media to prove one's gibbering idiocy, as "Republican" Annette Bosworth did with her "Che Guevara you're my beacon" Facebook post. But one can also use it to engage people in one of the most vibrant and direct town halls America has ever had. Even far-from-iHipster GOP Senate challenger Larry Rhoden, who padinkled around a bit on Facebook but never did Twitter before launching his campaign, acknowledges that social media "a key component to getting your message out."

As Sioux Falls Internet guru John T. Meyer says to Montgomery, politicians "have to go to where your constituents are." Lots of constituents are on Facebook and Twitter, but Mike Rounds doesn't want to go there because he's too busy working... as in working the big corporate donors at private meetings to raise his nine million dollars.

Update 09:51 CDT: Notice that Rounds blogger Pat Powers not only ignores Rounds's confession of techno-resistance but runs interference for it, saying that engaging voters in civic conversation online is just decoration. Engaging voters in real conversation as mere "frosting"—yup, Powers encapsulates the Rounds political philosophy better than I ever could.


  1. Porter Lansing 2013.09.09

    Marion: "Throw your support behind indoor toilets and cable TV and you'll navigate the waters of e-donations like a Dakota Commander."

  2. Cranky Old Dude 2013.09.09

    No, no...wouldn't want to engage with those messy, demanding voters! They might ask you something embarrassing or worse, ask you for something and not have a chunk of change to toss in your coffers.

  3. interested party 2013.09.09

    Just further proof that Mr. Rounds is uninterested in convincing anyone other than old, white christians that he's their guy.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2013.09.09

    In this day and age, it is unthinkable that a leader in government or in the private sector is technically challenged. I know a doctor that was forced to retire because he could not get up to speed on electronic medical records. There have been mid to high level business leaders that lost their lost their jobs because they lacked technical skills required of them.
    This no laughing matter.

  5. Joan 2013.09.09

    I don't know what Rounds would be so busy working at, other than fund raising.

  6. Stace Nelson 2013.09.10

    I would invite all to review all the US Senate candidates personal/campaign Facebook pages & Twitter accounts to see who has the healthiest campaign & most active social media effort.. :-D

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.09.10

    Stace, your willingness to engage with constituents—not just put out fluff announcements and talking points, but directly respond to questions in the comment sections—speaks to your merits as a statesman. But you do come down hard on some folks. Do you ever get the sense that your bluntness in social media loses you votes?

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