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Elections Prove Power of Facebook, Twitter

Candidate harnesses Generation Y's habits to win election.

Generation Y is known for short attention spans and long amounts of time on the internet. When handshaking and speech-making are no longer enough for today's politicians to entice young voters, everyone from President Barack Obama to our local representatives like Nassau Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) and State Sen. Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset), incorporate social media as a way to get millenial voters on their side.

Joshua Lafazan is no exception.

Syosset's 2012 Board of Education election was like no other for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that . The second was the campaign itself. Viral trends and use of social media perfectly fit the candidate and the massive amount of young voters who helped elect him.

Lafazan set up a campaign website where he could interact with voters. As a 21st century high school student, he next took his campaign to Facebook and Twitter.

"I'm a high school kid. I didn't have the biggest budget," he explained. "Facebook and Twitter were a way for me to get organized and spread my message instantly."

By using social media, Lafazan created a viral web campaign with the voters who most resembled him: teens and college students. In a true 21st century voice, he was able to reach out to specific voters and show his true colors.

"The Web and social media have created a level of transparency that never before existed in our country," said Wesley Donehue at CNN Opinion.

"Instantaneous tweeting of shady government practices -- and the resulting uproar -- means that public bodies are more responsive than ever."

Lafazan sought to harness that exact responsiveness on Monday afternoon.

When Lafazan's father, Jeffrey, was, a strong social media campaign to dismiss the rumors quickly ensued.

"I was able to dispel the rumor on Facebook and people shared my status…The word was spread instantly," said Lafazan.

Just two hours after a "robo-call" went out to district parents about the situation, Lafazan tweeted, "Everything is ok please stop calling me."

From there, friends and supporters shared a status update from Lafazan on Facebook, even adding it to the Syosset Patch Facebook page, describing his side of the story and sending a plea to followers.

"…Please show to your parents, as well as share this status to make sure the truth gets out there…"

Supporters shared the message dozens of times and the hashtag #InLaffyWeTrust flooded Twitter feeds.

The campaign was a success, as hundreds of high school and college students turned out to vote for the young candidate. Lafazan ended up with in the race.

Whether or not residents supported Lafazan, his effective use of social media helped make sure his name was not forgotten in the election shuffle. Lafazan's website, Facebook, and Twitter are still open for questions and comments, and , and #InLaffyWeTrust is still a popular phrase on Twitter.

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