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STUDY: Obama leads Romney in Social Media Activity

by Jane Susskind, published

According to an August 15 Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism study, President Barack Obama leads Republican candidate Mitt Romney in web and social media activity. While this comes at no shock to those of us tuned into their social media activity, the findings show that neither candidate engages with voters via social media, and while Obama is much more active on Twitter, his levels of engagement are low.

And while Paul Ryan drastically improved Romney's social media game, it's not enough to catch veteran Barack Obama, who tweeted his way to the White House back in 2008. Obama has since expanded his efforts in social media to include regional pages, focusing on individual states. In doing so, the Obama campaign has decreased focus on the mainstream press and provides supporters with local information and campaign updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

So what are the candidates tweeting about? As expected, both candidates' conversations on social media center around the economy. What's interesting, Pew reports, is the way in which each candidate treats the issue:

While the troubled economy was the No. 1 issue in both candidates' digital messaging, the two camps talk about that issue in distinctly different ways. Romney's discussion focuses on jobs. Obama's discussion of the economy is partly philosophical, a discourse on the importance of the middle class and competing visions for the future.

The study continues to highlight that Obama's digita strategy is more effectively and frequently targeting specific voter groups, with the most retweets originating from women's and veterans' issues. Obama gives supporters the opportunity to join 18 different constituency groups upon entering the website, appealing to a large demographic of online users.

What impact do you think social media will have in the 2012 election? Do "Likes" translate into votes?


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