Digital Politics: Social Media + Presidential Campaigns

The 2008 Barack Obama campaign really changed the face of digital politics. Since his was a grassroots movement, and led by many young people, it made sense that the development of social media and digital marketing strategies were at the forefront of the campaign. And this year, the ante has been upped. Mitt Romney’s camp was well-aware of their need to succeed in digital, especially to compete with the President’s large presence on Twitter and Facebook. The candidates turned to app creation as a way to get ahead. Their apps boast features that bring voters together and make the development and management of their street teams easier.

So how important is social media marketing to the President and hopeful Mitt Romney? Let’s put it this way: Romney has a dedicated staff of 110 people committed to digital efforts. And on Thursday (August 30th), he spent more than $100,000 to promote the hashtag #BelieveinAmerica for the entire last day of the RNC. Obama hasn’t skimped either, creating Dashboard, a social organizing network for his supporters.

Twitter has monitored the political conversation and American voter sentiment since August 1st, which allows people to check the candidates’ approval ratings regularly. Though some claim that the Twindex is faulty in reporting sentiment (as its robots are probably not great at deciphering sarcasm or slang), it is interesting nonetheless.

What impact does social media have on the American voter? Are you reluctant or willing to speak about your political beliefs on social platforms?

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