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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Social Media, the Campaign, and the Conventions

The Pew Research Center reports on a new survey:
Some but not most users of social networking sites say the sites are important for a variety of political activities:
  • 36% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in keeping up with political news.
  • 26% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in recruiting people to get involved in political issues that matter to them.
  • 25% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them for debating or discussing political issues with others.
  • 25% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in finding other people who share their views about important political issues.
In each activity, Democrats who use social networking sites are more likely than Republicans or independents to say the sites are important.
AP reports:
When it comes to following political conventions, Twitter may soon trump television.
TV viewership for last week's Republican National Convention dropped sharply from 2008, suggesting interest in this presidential race falls short of some past contests. But the convention was a hit online and on social networks, the latest evidence of the political conversation's gradual migration from traditional media to the Web.
Both parties have offered live streaming feeds of the conventions online, and the RNC's convention YouTube channel received 2.8 million video views. Several TV and print news organizations are also providing streaming video and opportunities for online engagement around the convention through their websites and Facebook pages. Search giant Google also has created dedicated convention pages.
The GOP convention was one of the most talked about news events of the year on Facebook, according to data analysis provided by the company. But even there, the average audience was older — the speeches by Mitt Romney, Ann Romney and actor Clinton Eastwood drew the most buzz among people over 55. Only Ryan's speech drew a younger discussion on Facebook.
Twitter, the social networking hub where information is shared through 140-character microbursts known as tweets, has become an influential media force in the convention after being little more than a blip in 2008. That year, the two conventions together drew just 365,000 tweets. This year's Republican convention alone drew 5 million tweets.
Romney's acceptance speech peaked at 14,300 tweets per minute to make it the most tweeted political event of 2012. The speech eclipsed Obama's State of the Union address in January, which drew about 14,100 tweets a minute.