Hail To The Chief!
With presidential hopefuls lining up to take their turn on the soapbox, social media use has been cranked up to near overload.
President Barack Obama brought social media to the forefront in 2008 by running what was at that point the most effective social media political campaign.
Today everyone and anyone with even a slight interest in holding an office has a Facebook page a Twitter account and a LinkedIn profile. Their goal is to leverage these audiences into active voters, hopefully motivating people to the polls.
They also use these sites to promote their message, explain their stance on the issues and contribute to the national dialogue.
For companies, social media is a great way to promote their brand and their products and attract customers.
For politicians the same is true, only in their case they are their own brand.
But self-promotion is no less important.
While eight Republican candidates duked it out Thursday night on a stage in Ames, Iowa, their campaigns waged a larger, if less obvious, fight online.
Throughout the debate, the Twitter feeds of the campaigns maintained a steady Internet drumbeat. They responded to candidates’ claims, retweeted supporters’ messages and hosted live chats, trying to boost their social media presence.
Of the eight candidates, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Michele Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich maintained the most active Twitter presences. Those campaigns were constantly working to update their online messages throughout the evening.
Retweeting their candidates’ own quotes became a rapid-response strategy throughout the night, along with retweeting messages from their candidate’s supporters.
@Newt2012HQ was the most active retweeter, culling from a massive pool of supporters to retweet lines like “Gingrich gets my vote as the winner of the debate tonight thus far! #GOPDebate.”
@TeamBachmann for the most part linked to talking points, but supplemented Bachmann’s own statements with further explanations.
The unofficial @timpawlenty account remained largely silent. Occasionally, though, @PawlentyTweets attempted to use the social media platform by rebutting talking points from other candidates and responding with links to relevant news articles.
Though Herman Cain’s press operation (@CainPress) advertised a live chat, his site appeared to crash early on and could not be accessed during the debate.
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