While it might sound like a Maoist reeducation camp, the “Social Victory Center” app on Facebook is actually a force for conservatism, or at least, the Republican Party as it is now constituted. According to the Los Angeles Times, the SVC is a “first-of-its-kind” social hub for political activism online, created by the Republican National Committee in the hopes of unseating Barack Obama and helping local and state GOP candidates fight the good fight in any number of lesser electoral contests.
The RNC says the SVC is intended to help users “find ways to volunteer in their local areas, make calls into battleground states, access exclusive news and multimedia from the RNC, find and create local political events, and engage with activists across the country.” The host page for the app includes a video introduction from party chairman Reince Priebus (who is not, in fact, a Charles Dickens character) explaining that the GOP hopes to establish “a new standard in online activism,” adding, “With the SVC, you have the opportunity to customize your activist experience.”
In a post which appeared on the Red State blog, RNC digital director Tyler Brown expanded on the theme: “After logging into the Social Victory Center -- in the same way one uses any Facebook application -- users find political news and videos that are customized to their interests and location. They can engage and organize with voters across the country through discussions and event planning features, and they can find ways to volunteer -- in their communities or from home. Without leaving the Facebook application, a volunteer can make voter-identification or Get Out the Vote phone calls to pivotal battleground states right from home... As volunteers read and watch, discuss and volunteer, their friends are alerted to their actions..”
The SVC itself may be new, but it’s not the GOP’s first foray into large-scale social media campaigning. Back in May 2010, the GOP launched a site, “America Speaking Out,” with the stated goal of soliciting ideas from voters for policies to be pursued by the party once in power. Users could vote on the submitted ideas, and (some of) the “winning” policies were included in a new document, reminiscent of the 1994 “Contract with America,” called the “Pledge to America.”