Former First Lady of Florida Opens New Social Media Accounts to Better Connect With Hispanic Voters
It’s estimated that 70% of all social media users in North America are connected to at least one local business. As such, it comes as no surprise that politicians are turning to social media — in hopes of earning votes.
And in an effort to secure the coveted minority vote — particularly the Hispanic /Latino vote — politicians are now using social media as a platform for transparency, even if they haven’t always done so in the past.
In an attempt to broaden his Hispanic and Latino outreach, Jeb Bush’s notoriously private wife, Columba Bush, slowly began raising her public profile earlier this month when she opened her own Twitter and Instagram accounts under the handle @ColumbaBush.
The former First Lady of Florida — who herself was born in Mexico and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1979 — will use her accounts to reach out in both English and Spanish to the various segments of the nation’s Hispanic and Latino community, which is known to have one of the highest rates of social-media engagement in the country.
In fact, a recent Pew Hispanic Center survey revealed that 68% of Hispanic internet users reported using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others, compared to roughly 58% of all U.S. internet users.
“From our data, we don’t know if they’re using social media for family or for civic engagement,” explained Mark Hugo Lopez, who serves as director of Hispanic Research for Pew. “This is one place where there are many Latinos and this is a way to reach them. The question is whether they’ll respond to civic or political outreach.”
As with other political figures who engage with voters on social media, the former Florida governor’s wife will keep followers up to date on public appearances and provide input on issues important to her such as drug prevention and education, mental health, the arts, and perhaps even the occasional family recipe.
News of the family’s social media efforts — which comes on the heels of negative news headlines and commentary over Jeb Bush’s less-than-impressive response to questions regarding the Iraq war — highlights the new, bilingual, modern family image the Bushes want to portray to both the political and Hispanic communities. It also sends a subtle message that Jeb Bush’s likely presidential campaign intends to take the Hispanic vote more seriously than previous Republican candidates.