September 27, 2012 by amerciagazette
As the campaigns unfold toward the debates,this blog will look at the effective and ineffective uses of social media by both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The media is quick to pick up the “fails” of the candidates but let’s take a deeper look into their strategies and uses of media and social media, in particular.
First, check out this YouTube video that talks about Social Media use and demographics.
Lets start with Barack Obama. Obama’s recognition and use of the emerging social media gave him the grassroots connections and network to push him into the limelight and the ultimate victory over the favored candidate, Hillary Clinton in 2008. Obama understood and embraced the power of social media and its connection to youthful voters. Through his formation of Obama for America (OFA), he was able to build cells of supporters throughout the country and gave them the freedom to be a part of the “movement for change”. This inevitably lead to huge support both in donations and action on behalf of his election. OFA was converted to Organizing for Amercia after his election to keep his network in place.
Republicans were keeping an eye on Obama’s social media campaign and recognized the momentum that was being created. This was to become the new and improved way to get the message out and gain voter support through “personal’ connection. Obama’s victory was the proof that was needed to solidify the value of social media in politics. Social media quickly became the battlefield.
Currently, Obama and Romney are both using social media such as websites, Face Book, Instagram and Twitter, to name a few. How are each of these candidates using these outlets? Lets look –
Romney – First, lets look at a screenshot of his twitter account.
Romney’s number look like this –
Tweets 1,180; Following 259; Followers 1,180,627 Also, his tweets are primarily direct attacks on Obama.
Now, let’s peek at Obama’s –
Obama’s numbers look like this –
Tweets 6,299; Following 672,555; Followers 20,153,414 His tweets seem to focus on more general things like voter registration and the NFL refs.
These numbers seem to reflect that Obama is still on top with connecting with voters via Twitter. With primarily younger users on Twitter, this may indicate that Obama still has a hold on younger voters. We must also consider the global factor, here. Many people all over the world may be following Obama on Twitter, not just Americans.
So what is going on with their Facebook pages?
Here is a screenshot of Romney’s Page –
And now a screenshot of Obama’s Facebook page –
As a journalist I must look at each of these “texts” rhetorically. What message are these images trying to convey? I find it interesting that Romney is looking down or has his back turned in many of his photos. Obama, on the other hand, is generally looking up or at the someone. Both have a store, of course, and both have designated buttons for you to donate. Romney’s campaign gave it a good shot with “I am with Mitt” tags on photos but that effort was overtaken by a social media “fail” when the incorrect spelling of our country became “AMERCIA” (thus our class election for President of Amercia) took on a life of its own. I would venture to say the the Obama campaign is still “King” of utilizing social media effectively. Why wouldn’t he be. He invented the process.
It is my belief that Obama has set a new stand for the political world in his use of social media. These tools will forever be a part of our political culture. In the future, and possibly already, social media will be the forefront of communication for all politicians.