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Oct. 21, 2010



By Greg Hazley

Karen Hughes, a top communications aide to President George W. Bush and former public diplomacy chief at the State Dept., told BlogWorld 2010 in Las Vegas last weekend that social media has upended the way political campaigns communicate by bypassing the "media filter" that aides like her previously had to go through.

"We've moved to a more democratic and personal news cycle no longer controlled by elite journalists but potentially by an individual with a cellphone or access to the Internet," said Hughes, now global vice chair at Burson-Marsteller. "My job was to make my candidates message somehow fit in and get through that [news media] filter and find its way in the nightly news or in the morning enwspaper. Today, those of you in this room have replaced the news desk and become assignment editors of the 21st century."

Hughes said no one working on President Bush's first campaign used a Blackberry but just four years later they were critical to his re-election effort.

Hughes gave examples of effective social media use in the current election cycle and expressed some concerns about the platforms ability to communicate quicky and widely sometime with disregard to accuracy or potential consequences.

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