Romney all thumbs when it comes to social media
Obama came to the presidential campaign having revolutionised internet use in elections. He has more than 21 million Twitter followers compared to Romney’s 1.6 million, writes KARLIN LILLINGTON
IT’S OFFICIAL: Barack Obama wins the election.
Well, that’s if it were based on a comparison of how adept the two US presidential candidates have been in managing their social media campaigns, and if only the sentiment of social media users were tallied.
While both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are using social media in similar ways – to get out campaign videos, to post images, to highlight issues, to fundraise, and to make themselves come across as more personable – Obama is the dominant force.
On Twitter, Obama has more than 21 million followers, while Romney trails with 1.6 million. On Facebook, more than 31.5 million people have “liked” the president’s page, while 11.5 million have “liked” Romney’s. On YouTube, Obama has about 233,000 followers, while Romney has just 21,000.
Obama’s domination extends even into more personal social media formats such as the photo site Instagram, with 1.5 million people following Obama, while Romney has 68,000.
Even on music site Spotify – where Obama’s playlist features Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and U2 (Even Better Then the Real Thing) and Romney’s, the Kingston Trio, the Beach boys, Roy Orbison and, rather incongruously, the Commodores – about 15,000 people subscribe to rock to Obama’s playlists, while only about 500 opt for Romney’s.
“Obama has been using social media extremely well,” says Dermot Casey, lecturer at UCD Smurfit Business School, founder and chief executive of Tinstring and former chief operations officer and chief technology officer at Storyful – and self-confessed “anorak” about US elections and media campaigns. “He has executed well, and it’s integrated well into his grand campaign.”
Of course, Obama comes to the campaign this year having revolutionised how the internet and social media could be utilised as a crucial element for both campaigning and fundraising back in the 2008 presidential election.
Casey notes Obama already had a massive number of followers on Twitter and Facebook thanks to the legacy of that campaign, and because millions more have engaged with his social media presence in the past four years. He is, after all, the first tweeting president.
“Obama has been banking all those people, to have a [social media] machine this time around. Romney didn’t have that time to put the machine together,” he says, noting that Obama also has had an enormous team of volunteers driving his social media campaigns, alongside a formal strategy group of about 150 based in Chicago,while Romney predominantly has had a smaller hired team.