Social Media Elections – 2012 Edition

Social media is a powerful force in the 2012 elections. You can’t tell me your Twitter and Facebook feeds aren’t blown up with tweets and posts about Clint Eastwood and the invisible chair (we like to call it “Eastwooding”), Michelle Obama’s fab pink dress (and rockin’ blue/grey nails) or Bill Clinton’s 48-minute speech (2,619 words longer than expected to be exact).

The question is, does social media really give either side a good idea of who voters will vote for come Election Day? To that, will social media influence voters’ sentiment?  Will they check the box near Governor Mitt Romney? Or President Barack Obama? While social media plays a very important role in the elections, it’s hard to base stats on emotion.

Jennifer Aaker, the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at the Graduate School of Business, once told the Stanford Business Magazine, ”You can’t use social media effectively unless you know how to capture people’s emotions.”

In other words a person has to actually care about the tweet or Facebook post. They have to feel connected or emotionally tied to the person, policy or opinion.

So how are the Obama and Romney campaigns making that emotional connection?

Exhibit A:
POTUS hug.

President Obama hugging President Clinton. It SCREAMS emotion. If you’re a Democrat or a fan of either president, this picture will speak to you. Or maybe this one will.

Exhibit B:
A Better Future video

The music, the sweeping video, the encouraging and uplifting words of Condoleezza Rice, Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Mitt Romney… it’s all there, and all meant to tug at the heartstrings of the American people. No patience to watch a video? Romney’s camp is banking on photos like this or maybe this one to help secure your vote.

Ironically, Todd Wasserman over at Mashable posted an article the other day about the influence social media has when it comes to politics. Agree with it or not, it’s still happening – and more than anyone thinks.

If emotion doesn’t get your attention, maybe the sheer volume of activity will.

Some stats from the San Francisco Chronicle, Mashable, and the official Twitter Blog:

  1. Four years ago, the term “social media” wasn’t widely accepted. On Election Day 2008. There were 1.8 million tweets. Now, that many tweets are sent every six minutes.
  2. President Obama and Romney are spending millions of dollars to advertise in social arenas – including paid placements in Twitter and Facebook. In fact last week, Romney became the first political campaign to purchase a “trending topic” on Twitter.
  3. Tweets Per Minute (TPM) during the 2012 Republican & Democratic National Conventions:
    • President Clinton’s speech: 22,087
    • Mitt Romney’s speech: 14,289.
    • Michelle Obama’s speech: 28,003.
    • Paul Ryan’s speech: 6,669
  4. The Republican National Convention and its hashtag #GOP2012 and #RNC2012 logged an impressive 4 million tweets during the 3-day period.
  5. The Democratic National Convention and its hashtag #DNC2012 had already logged an astonishing 5.5 million tweets by the end of night two.

We don’t need to tell you – the next 2.5 months are going to be wild – especially if you’re playing in the online/social playgrounds.

Have (or will) you contribute to the election volume in social media? Are you influenced by the emotion that is posted by political campaigns? We’d love to hear your thoughts.