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Professor: Social media could play important role in political careers

Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd went on cross country road trip and documented the whole trip on Facebook Live.

The Texas political duo has finally reached its destination. U.S. Reps. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso and Will Hurd of San Antonio made it into Washington, D.C., in time for votes. The bipartisan road trip has made headlines across the country. Thousands of people followed the duo on Facebook Live.

Using Facebook to live-stream while driving across country is a fairly simple and cheap way of reaching not only constituents but the general public. The congressmen covered many topics, varying from border security and immigration to their favorite road trip songs, and it's introduced them to people everywhere.

An assistant professor of political science at University of Texas El Paso said online activity like this helps increase the congressman's voter recognizability.

"It's really quite an easy way to reach directly to your constituents, but also it allows you to get national news coverage also while simultaneously not having the filter that the media generally puts on things," Todd Curry said.

The activity online the past two days could stand as proof that social media has a permanent place in civic engagement.

"Social media has largely helped individuals who weren't involved in politics get involved in politics and other ways," Curry said.

Curry added, it's events like this live stream that help make politicians approachable.

"Most people have never seen members of the Republican party and members of the Democratic party in such a casual sort of environment while speaking directly to constituents," Curry said.

While social media helps citizens get involved, it's also an effective way for representatives to get ballots in the box, particularly from younger generations.

"This is just another way that could possibly get young voters people under the ages of 35 more likely to engage with them actively in terms of campaign and voting," Curry said.

The national coverage from the bipartisan road trip could help O'Rourke should he try to run for Senate in the future.

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