POLITICO: Vincent Harris Quoted on Controversies in Social Media

November 25th, 2014, 5:34 AM EST
By Anna Palmer and Darren Samuelsohn

Bill Cosby survived accusations of sexual assault for decades — until viral social media outrage took him down in a matter of days.

Digital operatives recognize that Cosby’s fall is sure to be an unusual case, given the severity of what more than a dozen women have said he did, including several who had not spoken out before.

But strategists also see Cosby’s fall as a case study in how social media can spread old news to new audiences — with speed and efficiency dramatically different from what any previous generations of political candidates have encountered.

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Vincent Harris, Founder and CEO of Harris Media

So while opposition researchers retool their digital approach ahead of the 2016 presidential race, when social media will be even more important, they’re planning how to use these digital platforms in new ways to reignite the controversies in their opponents’ past as part of their campaign strategy.

“The Cosby situation isn’t unique to Hollywood celebrities,” said Vincent Harris, an Austin-based GOP digital consultant who worked for Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign and recently signed on as top tech strategist for Rand Paul’s political operation. “The same situation could take place in politics, with decades old information, videos, and events coming to light and with enough online drive behind them, they could ignite a firestorm. People online are relentless and politicians must work hard to harness the searches and information seeking of voters, channeling them into a medium where they control the message.”

Read the full story, here: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/social-media-bill-cosby-politicians-113182.html#ixzz3KBS226jl