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Monday, October 8, 2012

Social Media in the General Election Campaign

In 2012, it is not enough for candidates to shake some hands, kiss a baby or two and run some TV ads. They also need to be posting funny little animations on the blogging site Tumblr.

If the presidential campaigns of 2008 were dipping a toe into social medialike Facebook and Twitter, their 2012 versions are well into the deep end. They are taking to fields of online battle that might seem obscure to the non-Internet-obsessed — sharing song playlists on Spotify,adding frosted pumpkin bread recipes to Pinterest and posting the candidates’ moments at home with the childrenon Instagram.
At stake, the campaigns say they believe, are votes from citizens, particularly younger ones, who may not watch television or read the paper but spend plenty of time on the social Web. The campaigns want to inject themselves into the conversation on services like Tumblr, where political dialogue often takes the form of remixed photos and quirky videos.
To remind Tumblr users about the first presidential debate on Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s team used an obscure clip of Lindsay Lohan saying “It’s October 3” in the comedy “Mean Girls.” And on Twitter, Mitt Romney’s bodyguard posted a picture of the candidate’s family playing Jenga before the debate.
The techniques may be relatively new, but they are based on some old-fashioned political principles, according to Zachary Moffatt, the digital director for the Romney campaign.
“The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to win,” said Mr. Moffatt, who oversees about 120 staff members and volunteers. “The more people who interact with Mitt, the more likely he is to win. Social extends and amplifies that.”
Computerworld reports:
President Barack Obama is more savvy about using social networks during the presidential campaign than his Republican opponent Gov.Mitt Romney.
That's the take of 64% of the 2,500 American Internet users polled in a Google survey on Sept. 21, while 35.8% of those polled said they thought Romney was doing a better job with social media.
"If you were to look at just this survey and make a call about which candidate has more momentum, synergy and support, Obama would appear the winner, hands down," said Glenn Livingston, CEO of market research firm, which conducted the survey for Google. "It's really been a fun and highly revealing experiment."