Throughout this year’s Presidential campaign, Twitter played an instrumental role.  Both candidates expertly utilized the network and kept voters engaged by addressing major issues and promoting their public appearances.  As our own social media expert, Mike Stricker pointed out in a comment on one of my previous posts; Barack Obama was even responsible for generating the most re-tweets in history for a political message on Twitter.

Following the election, Twitter released an interesting new application, the Political Engagement Map, which demonstrates the impact of the candidates’ most influential tweets.

Twitter's Political Engagement Map

The tool breaks down the tweets by state, engagement level and even keywords.  Not only is it intriguing to see which tweets drove the best results for Romney and Obama, but it’s also interesting to learn more about the demographics which had the most online social influence on the campaign itself.

Furthermore, a re-working of the Political Engagement Map application could prove to be very useful to social media marketers in order to learn more about their own engagement levels and demographics.  Although Twitter hasn’t announced any plans to develop the application beyond its current form, it is good to see the network delivering new offerings to its users and I hope to see more tools like this from Twitter in the future.

To check out the Political Engagement Map for yourself, visit https://election.twitter.com/map/.

What do you think about Twitter’s Political Engagement Map?  Leave a comment or reach out to me via email or Twitter!

Earlier today, I read an article posted on Reuters.com discussing the impact of Twitter on this year’s historic Presidential election.  One quote within the article that particularly stood out was:

“Through the course of a long and bitter presidential campaign, Twitter often served as the new first rough draft of history.”

It’s a great point and a hard one to disagree with.  In fact, last night truly displayed the power of Twitter as one of the most significant public media outlets, both on and offline.  A record-breaking 31 million tweets related to the election spread throughout the Web last night, with 23 million of those appearing between 6pm EST and midnight.  Just after 11pm, Twitter users generated an incredible 327,000 tweets per minute leading up to the announcement of Obama’s victory.  According to Twitter’s spokeswoman, Rachael Horwitz, the election was “the most tweeted about event in U.S. political history.”

Although President Obama and Mitt Romney aggressively utilized Twitter during their respective campaigns, last night’s unprecedented social engagement levels truly brought the network to the forefront of mainstream news and media.

Twitter, as well as Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and other prominent social networks, provide a level of both visibility and credibility to individuals and organizations that have proven difficult to achieve through other platforms.  With both candidates extensively using social networks to help gain votes and raise greater awareness to their campaigns, the popularity of these networks has soared and only continues to grow and prove their value as promotional tools.

Last night, history was undoubtedly made as the incumbent President was re-elected.  Before I was even able to get to the nearest TV or radio to find out who would be residing in the White House for the next four years, the following tweet appeared on my Twitter feed:

Today, as Obama begins to prepare for four more years in office, myself and thousands of other social media users will remember the tweet that announced his victory to the world and the instrumental role social media played throughout this historic campaign.

Although this year’s election has been the most expensive in US history to date (with a total price tag of over $2 billion), the most significant platform utilized by both Romney and Obama to enhance their visibility throughout the campaign may, surprisingly, be the most cost effective, as well.  Social media first proved its worth in the political arena during President Obama’s groundbreaking 2008 campaign.  The usage of YouTube and Facebook to connect with a vast, diverse audience had undeniably helped Obama pull ahead in the polls and capture coveted demographics in crucial swing states such as Ohio.

By creating a new form of “digital grassroots” campaign, Obama was able to successfully reach voters who spent more time on Facebook and YouTube than watching C-SPAN or reading political publications.  Additionally, the least expensive element of Obama’s campaign proved to be the social media component, as the President’s social following was largely organic and the campaign’s online ad spend was far less than its print and television counterparts.  The first ever “Social Election” was a complete success and had paved the way for future campaigns.

Fast Forward to 2012…
As the incumbent, Obama now maintains a sizeable lead in terms of social following.  As mentioned by both Todd Bailey and Mike Stricker in our “Social Media & Election 2012” Web series, Obama’s following has been substantially greater than Mitt Romney’s on networks such as Facebook and Twitter since the outset.  However, Romney’s campaign has placed a strong emphasis on social media and this has made the race to the White House much more competitive.

While the size and scope of this campaign has been greater than any before it, the role of social media marketing has played an instrumental role in the overall reach of the campaign.  Going forward, candidates will almost certainly need to make social media a major part of their campaign efforts in order to raise awareness and establish themselves amongst the ever-expanding Internet audience.

As we all know by now, social media empowers us all to become reporters of our own.  Oftentimes we discuss the news and major announcements, and even stimulate buzz for a particular product and brand.  President Barack Obama has grabbed the media’s attention after officially announcing his support for same-sex marriage on ABC’s Good Morning America.

While the media has gone in to a frenzy to report on this major evolution in his presidency, millions of other reporters surfaced on Twitter- that’s right, us.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing considerations is the fact that there is now an official “Retweeting President Obama” counter that states the amount of times the President has been retweeted on this topic.

Leave it to social media to cultivate a statement and generate its own buzz.  In fact, Twitter reported that there were greater than 7,300 tweets per minute immediately after the President tweeted “Same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Twitter published the follow analytical graph showing the explosive growth in tweets per minute (TPM) that emerged shortly following the announcement.  Image is courtesy of Twitter, Inc.


The President knows exactly what he is doing by moving the conversation to Twitter.  Back in 2008, the President successfully leveraged social media while on the campaign trail.  The fact of the matter is social media now provides everyone a platform to stimulate buzz and snowball information amongst our contacts.  This move is a strategic decision by the President and it seems to be working in his favor.