Social media could be tie-breaker in close Valley races

UTPA Professor Michael Minor is keeping his laptop near him on election night.

The marketing professor is watching the poll results on TV but he's also keeping an eye on-line.

As social media networks like Twitter and Facebook continue to grow, Professor Minor said they're becoming more and more important for political campaigns right here in the Rio Grande Valley.

"They all have an equal chance to use this media, Minor said about the candidates. There's no restrictions on it. So, if they wanna be on it 24 hours a day they certainly could. So in that way, it's a level playing field.

Challengers are hoping that a level playing field on-line can help unseat longtime incumbents.

Minor says a candidate has the potential reach an unlimited audience but he's noticed social media also being used for mudslinging in local races.

"Over time, television advertising became less and less gentlemanly if you will and more and more mudslinging, Minor said. I think over time, social media will go the same way. As for future political campaigns here in the Valley, Minor expects to see more of them on outlets like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

"Perhaps we thought we had enough of their message before but now we have even more, he said.