Entries in Social Media (11)


How Social Media Could Impact 2016 Presidential Election

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If only Mitt Romney had had a few thousand more Twitter followers and Facebook friends, the 2012 election might have turned out differently.

So say Bret Jacobson and Ian Spencer, millennial techies and co-founders of the conservative digital strategy group Red Edge. The high-tech entrepreneurs believe the failed GOP presidential nominee could have defeated President Obama simply with a better showing on social media.

"If you had run a really competent, really aggressive digital campaign, you probably could have won an Electoral College vote,” says Jacobson of the 2012 election. “The difference is roughly 450,000 in a couple swing states and you could more than make up for that difference.”

These are the bold claims from a dynamic duo that is leading the charge for a Republican Party reboot. Jacobson and Spencer say they are convinced that despite previous failed attempts, the party can surpass Democrats' social media machine by the 2016 presidential race.

The Obama campaign was "incredibly good at empowering people to receive and share information" on the web, Facebook in particular, which allowed the organizers and fundraisers to build individualized voter profiles based on people's profile information, Jacobson says.

"They were able to specifically reach out identify these people who need to register to vote,” he says. “And it turns out that after a million people logged in, they actually yielded a million real world voter registrations and votes from those people, which is really powerful stuff.”

For Republicans to match, the Red Edge guys want an extreme makeover: bringing "Internet culture into the Republican culture," and ultimately tapping a tech-savvy candidate who can build a strong digital following.

Who among early 2016 candidates has an early edge? “Rand Paul,” says Spencer of the Kentucky Republican senator.

"In terms of the grassroots support his father [Ron Paul] has enjoyed, many of whom also support him, I think he's in a kind of unique position to really make some waves online...because there's so many small dollar donors who, who went to Ron and who may now go to Rand," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Internet Takes Off with Mitt Romney’s ‘Binders Full of Women’

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite all the fireworks over taxes, oil and Libya, the most buzzworthy social media moment of Tuesday night’s presidential debate was Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s comment about “binders full of women.”

The inadvertently funny comment came in response to a question about pay equity for women from a member of the audience of the debate between Romney and President Obama at Hofstra University.

Romney was explaining that as the governor of Massachusetts searching for qualified women to fill cabinet posts, women’s groups brought him “binders full of women” who were good candidates.

“And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we -- can’t we find some -- some women that are also qualified?” Romney said. “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

The response was swift.

“‘They brought me whole binders full of women’ Did I just hear that? #debate,” tweeted @MichaelAusiello.

“‘They brought us binders full of women,’ doesn’t sound good in any setting,” added the New York Times’ Nick Bilton.

It wasn’t long before the Internet took the comment and ran with it.

A new Tumblr account popped up with images inspired by the comment, including one from the now-famous “Texts from Hillary” meme.

“Romney still uses binders? LOL,” read the caption attached to a photo of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A freshly minted Twitter account “@RomneysBinder” tweeted out: “Boy, I’m full of women! #debates” and by the end of the debate had more than 30,000 followers. A second @Romneys_Binder handle netted more than 12,000 followers by the end of the debate.

A fake “Binders Full of Women” Facebook account launched shortly after, along with several others. And the domain name was purchased just minutes after the comments came from Romney’s mouth.

Though it didn’t top the 10 million tweets that watchers put out during the first presidential debate, more than 7.2 million tweets poured out from watchers of this second town hall-style event.

A few other moments of this more lively debate caused a stir.

When Romney repeated questioner Lorraine Osorio’s name several times before getting it right, more than 109,000 tweets per minute commented on the moment.

When the candidates first argued directly with each other on Obama’s policy on oil drilling, Twitter comments peaked at 97,000 tweets per minute.

And more than 98,000 comments were tweeted out when Obama jabbed Romney on the size of his pensions.

“I don’t look at my pension, its not as big as yours,” Obama said.

And the same number of tweets -- 98,000 -- came in response to Obama’s answer to a question about how his administration responded to the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Brings State of the Union Tour to Google+

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- First it was Facebook, then Twitter. LinkedIn followed soon after. And, now, in the administration’s latest attempt to connect with supporters through social media, President Obama will participate in a virtual Google+ “hangout” on Monday evening, answering questions about his State of the Union address.

“I’ll walk into the Roosevelt Room across the hall from the Oval Office, take a seat, and kick-off the first-ever completely virtual town hall from the White House,” the president wrote in an email sent out by the White House last week. “This is going to be an exciting way to talk about the steps that we need to take together at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”


The live video chat caps a week of social media engagement that the White House planned around the State of the Union. The president will answer video questions that have been submitted through YouTube and will invite some of the questioners to participate in the conversation, which will be live-streamed through the White House’s Google+ page.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Social Polling App CEO: Social Media Will Drive the 2012 Conversation

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Social media self-promoters live for that “re-tweet,” or Facebook “like” -- actions that can go a long way toward spreading a message to a large audience. But in today’s ever-evolving social media landscape, simply broadcasting your message is no longer enough, particularly in politics.
“If we look at social networking in 2008, it was a one-way conversation, where candidates could put out a message and it may or may not be heard by an audience,” said Richard Schultz, CEO of Floop, a social polling app. Now, he said, “the conversations have become more collaborative and global.”
“People are getting on [social networking sites] and are interested in talking with their friends, seeing what the communities think about different issues and different candidates.”
That means Republican presidential candidates face increasing scrutiny, not just from opponents, but from the watchful eye of social media crowds. Fans, followers and now social pollsters are watching and dissecting a candidate’s every move.
Schultz predicts social polling apps will play a “critical role” in the 2012 election.
“[The] people going to town hall meetings and Occupy Wall Street protests are largely the people who have the most free time to be able to do those things,” Schultz told ABC’s Top Line Tuesday. “In contrast, the number of people getting on social networks and expressing these sort of opinions and viewing them is exponentially larger than the number of people showing up in person.”
Schultz said Floop users can log onto events -- say, Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate -- and weigh in on topics and candidates in real time. A graph would also move up or down during the debate, reflecting positive or negative responses to candidates as they speak.
For those influenced by peers, Floop tracks what users’ friends are saying about particular topics. Want to see what neighbors are thinking? Floop tracks that, too, showing “what people near you are thinking about different topics, what’s important to them,” said Schultz.
Floop is one of several new social polling apps launched in the last few months. Others include GoPollGo, Poll Position, and Wayin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Which GOP Candidate Is Winning at Social Media?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Can a presidential candidate win an election 140 characters at a time? In this digital age, they sure are trying.

Whether it is a promoted tweet, a YouTube video or a Google search ad, presidential campaigns have infiltrated social media in unprecedented ways this election cycle.

“It would be crazy for a campaign, speaking in general terms, not to have a Twitter account,” said Zach Moffatt, the digital director for Mitt Romney’s campaign. “It’s just become the way campaigning has to be.”

For the first time in presidential campaign history, candidates can buy ads that run before YouTube videos and pay to put their tweets at the top of users’ news feeds and search results on Twitter.

The micro-blogging site’s new political ad features were launched in mid-September and the YouTube “pre-roll” ads, which are more expensive, became available during the 2010 midterm elections.

Romney’s team has jumped at these opportunities and was the first presidential candidate to buy Twitter’s “promoted tweets” so more people would see his 140 character messages more often.

After announcing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s endorsement, the Romney campaign promoted a tweet about it. About 18,000 people clicked on the tweet’s link and almost 600 people retweeted it.

But the Romney campaign did not stop at Twitter. It also ran ads before videos on YouTube about the endorsement and bought the Google search words “Chris Christie” so every time someone Googled the governor’s name, a Romney ad appeared on the search page.

But despite the Romney campaign’s widespread reach on social media web sites, his rival as front-runner, Herman Cain, is taking the crown in the online realm, according to Patrick Ruffini, a digital strategist with the Republican political consulting agency Engage.

“Cain is new so people are trying to find out about him,” Ruffini said. “The problem [with Romney] is he’s been around awhile. He’s the establishment candidate and he’s probably not going to get a tremendous amount of support online.”

Ruffini said in order to inspire online chatter, a candidate has to “say and do interesting things,” which Cain is currently excelling at.  Over the past week on Facebook, for example, 80,000 were talking about the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO each day, according to an analysis by Engage.

Comparatively, about 36,000 Facebook users mentioned Romney throughout the week. About 34,000 people were talking about Ron Paul and about 23,000 posted about Michele Bachmann.

But, Ruffini noted, that “could change on a dime” because of the sheer speed of information sharing that takes place online.

“If you’re losing momentum and you’re losing steam, people are going to drop you like a hot potato,” he said. “The online audience especially is extremely finicky.”

And social media buzz does not necessarily translate into Election Day votes, Ruffini said in a blog post about the Facebook findings.

“Any measure of Internet buzz -- be it tweets, Facebook posts or searches -- will reward the most controversial and talked-about public figures, and these aren’t always the highest vote getters,” Ruffini wrote. “That’s probably why Cain, with his 9-9-9 plan and his recent surge in the polls, leads, and why Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul place strongly.”

Since his official candidate page was created in 2006, Paul has gained more than 20,000 subscribers and 2.2 million video views. More than 4,000 people subscribed to Paul’s YouTube account over the past month, more than every other presidential candidate, including President Obama, combined.

But in the 2 months since Perry’s YouTube page launched, the Texas Governor has already surpassed Paul’s online video popularity, drawing 2.4 million video views almost all of which came from his second campaign ad which calls Obama “president zero” and slams him for creating “zero jobs.” Nearly 2 million people have watched the ad on YouTube since it launched Sept. 20.  

And speaking of going viral, 1.9 million people have watched one of Cain’s YouTube videos in the mere two weeks that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO created his channel. In fact Cain’s 9-9-9 plan video was the number one viewed political video this past week, according to the YouTube Politics page rankings.

“Cain frankly I think just needs to be in a position to capitalize on his current moment and momentum to raise a lot of money online,” Ruffini said. “He really doesn’t have another shot. This is his moment right now to use this moment to effectively kind of cash in.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Twitter Following Tops 10 Million

President Obama tweets during the recent Twitter Town Hall, Official White House photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s following on Twitter topped 10 million people for the first time this week, capping months of steady gains on the social network despite sagging approval ratings in the polls.

@BarackObama is now the third-most-followed Twitter user in the world, according to Twitter Counter, which tracks the social network’s 14 million users.

Only celebrity pop artists Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber eclipse the president, with 13.5 million followers and 12.6 million followers, respectively. Obama is immediately trailed in the standings by Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears.

The closest politician to Obama in the rankings is former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who ranks 149th with 2.1 million followers.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has the most Twitter followers of any of Obama’s potential 2012 Republican challengers, with 1.3 million.

An Obama campaign aide said the 10-million follower milestone, while “not earth shattering,” is a “new and exciting” development for supporters who have been hungry for some good news.

To mark the occasion, the campaign website is hawking a “limited edition” T-shirt for Twitter followers who list the president’s first-term accomplishments with hashtags.

Here’s what they include:  #DADT, #AffordableCareAct, #EqualPay, #CreditCardReform, #WallStreetReform, #IraqDrawdown, #MiddleClassTaxCut, #CleanEnergy, #AutoRecovery, #HateCrimesBill, #StudentLoanReform.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Seeks Social Media Staffers

Dimitri Vervitsiotis / Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- If you’re an unemployed Democrat with a knack for Facebook and Twitter, President Obama’s reelection campaign may have a job for you.

The Chicago-based team of Obama strategists and organizers wants to beef up its social media presence with multiple new hires, from digital media experts to lower-level staffers, according to a job listing posted Tuesday on the electronic Democratic job bank “Jobs That Are Left.”  The announcement was first spotted by the New York Observer.

“We’re looking for writers who can tell stories in 140 characters or less, put complex policy into Facebook-friendly terms, and help plan and create original content that people will be compelled to share with their friends,” the post reads. “You should have a head for politics, a sense of humor, and buckets of common sense.”

While the total number of pending new hires may be unclear, the objective is not: to flood the online networks with savvy, articulate defenders of Obama’s record at a time when his poll numbers are tanking, and reenergize millions in an audience that was critical to Obama’s victory in 2008 that may have seen their lofty dreams of Hope and Change tempered by the realities of a stagnant economy and Washington political maneuvering.  

Obama campaign aides have said they plan aggressive, “unprecedented” outreach to voters through social media, and are designing “innovative” ways to do that.  The White House recently held the first ever presidential Twitter town hall, and Obama has utilized new interactive video teleconferencing technology to brief volunteers.

Jonathan Askin, who was a member of Obama’s technology task force in 2008, said the 2012 campaign will be defined by “mobile social, hyper-local, grassroots community organizing” that harnesses tools like Four Square and Places giving supporters real-time access to campaign activities.

As Obama’s army of 2012 social media operatives kick their plans into gear, they will have a sizeable audience listening --  much larger than any of Obama’s prospective GOP challengers.  The president has 9.8 million followers on Twitter and 22.6 million fans on Facebook.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Twitter Followings Shed Light on GOP 2012 Field

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the GOP 2012 horserace well underway, here’s a snapshot of what we know about the field based on the candidates' Twitter followings and integration of the social networking tool into their campaigns:

  • Newt Gingrich has an audience, the largest of the GOP field at 1.3 million, but it’s growing at an anemic pace -- the worst of the field in week-over-week adds.  The former House Speaker won fewer than 100 new followers last week, fewer than any other candidate.
  • Jon Huntsman is no Twitter star. He’s averaging about a tweet a day, since he activated his account a month ago.  And with a following of 6,261, he’s the last in the GOP pack.
  • Michele Bachmann’s Twitter trend reflects her appeal among the conservative grassroots: She’s the only candidate to post consistent weekly growth above 1 percent of her following, which now stands at more than 62,000.
  • Herman Cain has been the most active tweeter over the last three months. His following – 49,000 – puts him smack dab in the middle of Pawlenty and Romney.
  • Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney: The two former governors began the race with similarly sized followings, but Pawlenty has since seen the steepest drop off in weekly percent growth of his base since he launched his presidential bid.  He trails Romney in the supporters race by roughly 15,000 followers.

Does any of this matter?  Yes, says University of Minnesota political communications professor and social media expert Heather LaMarre.  “But it’s not how much you tweet, it’s how much you can get those followers to re-tweet and push out your message for you,” she said.

LaMarre’s research from the 2010 cycle also found a small but statistically significant relationship between the number of a political figure’s followers and winning an election.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Who is Anthony Weiner Following on Twitter? 

Alex Wong/ Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Democrat, who is followed by more than 49,500 constituents, fans and friends, himself only follows 198 Twitter users, according to his profile page.  Most of those are journalists, political figures, professional athletes and Hollywood stars.

But a handful of users that Weiner is following appear to belong to young, attractive women –- a fact that has raised some eyebrows.

Several of the women spoke out this morning, disavowing any contact with the congressman. 

One woman, identified as @Puccaxpink describes herself in her profile as a "nerdy/tomboyish chick but with a penchant for fashion & all things fabulous." She tweeted that she hasn't had any contact with the congressman.

"It's unfair for all the females he follows to be branded as Lolitas, which is what many articles are insinuating,” she said. 

@fermdennytraci, an "asthetician, political junkie, Obama supporter and major cat lover," tweeted Weiner directly: "U follow hubby and I. Contacted by NyTimes about a possible story. Told them we havnt had any interactions. No story."

Washington State college student Gennette Cordova, the recipient of a lewd photo posted to Weiner's Twitter account on Friday, explained that she began following Weiner after seeing him on a Fox News program two months ago.

"Actually I became a fan after I saw him demolish Bachmann on Hannity about 2 months ago," she tweeted from her account. "It was great."

Why did Weiner then turn around and "follow" Cordova back? 

He explained to reporters Tuesday that he occasionally reaches out publicly to his lengthy list of electronic friends to ask if they want to be followed.

"#WeinerYes. It should answer that question," Weiner said yesterday, referring to a message recipients could tweet back to confirm their interest.

Most recently, the congressman tweeted on May 13: "Thanks so much for following me. Would you like me to follow you? Use #WeinerYes."

Two days later, he tweeted again: "Thanks for all the #WeinerYes tweets. Now I'm #WeinerSwamped. I'm gonna do some #WeinerFollowingYou adds today."

During an increasingly heated press conference Tuesday, a frustrated Weiner raised eyebrows when he called a CNN reporter a "jackass" when he repeatedly asked Weiner if he sent the lewd picture. The congressman refused to answer the question.

When the story broke, bloggers were quick to point out how easy it is to accidentally tweet public a message a Twitter user intended to be a private, or Direct Message.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Justices Kennedy and Breyer Testify at House Appropriations Hearing

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer appeared before Congress Thursday to discuss the Supreme Court's proposed 2012 budget in a hearing that touched upon serious economic issues but also strayed into the justices' use of social media, the code of judicial conduct and whether the court was correct to close its front doors to entering tourists.

In his opening statement to the House Appropriations Subcommittee -- which is charged with reviewing the court's budget -- Kennedy said the court recognized that the government "must be extremely careful in terms of its stewardship of the taxpayers' dollars" but that the court's budget request included cost-containment measures.

Subcommittee members, at times, seemed more intrigued by the workings of the Supreme Court.

"Do you tweet?" asked Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark.

Kennedy dodged the question, but praised social media for bringing greater interest to public affairs.

"The law lives in the consciousness of the people, and to the extent there is greater interest, and greater interest in public affairs and that finds its way into the social media, I think that is all for the good."

But Justice Breyer dug right in. He said he had followed the recent Iranian uprising by monitoring a Twitter feed.

"The only way you could do it," the justice said, "was to go through the Tweet or the tweeter."

But he added that he doesn't allow himself to have Twitter or Facebook followers.

"It's not a good idea on balance," he said to laughter. "Judges wear black robes so that they will resist the temptation to publicize themselves, because we really speak for the law and that is to be anonymous."

The justices also were asked about the decision to close the court's front doors to entering tourists.

Kennedy said that the court recently "spent millions of dollars on an updated security facility," but decided, after talking to experts, that visitors no longer should be able to enter through the main front entrance. While visitors can leave the court through the front of the building, they are required to enter through side doors equipped with security checkpoints. Kennedy said that, from a security perspective, entering from the side entrance is "mandatory."

But Breyer disagreed. He reiterated his position that it had been a "close and difficult question," but that the majority of the court made the wrong decision in closing the main entrance, which stands below an inscription that reads "Equal justice under law."

"They should have left it open," he said. "I read the same [security advisories]."

Breyer said he hoped that, eventually, "things will calm down," and the front doors will be open as an entrance for every visitor.

Members of the committee were concerned whether the court felt the budget contained enough funds for security. Kennedy said he thought it did and discussed the recent shooting of Chief Judge John Roll in Arizona, saying, "We are always aware of security threats."

Asked about provisions of the budget that included technology expenditures, Kennedy talked about the "quiet revolution" that has occurred with the advancement of technology. He noted -- in awe -- that the court has a new website that gets 59 million hits a month and that opinions now are posted and analyzed on blogs hours after they have been released.

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., asked whether the code of judicial conduct -- a set of ethical principles adopted by the Judicial Conference -- should be binding to Supreme Court justices. Currently, the code only applies to lower court judges, although Supreme Court justices often follow the guidelines.

Kennedy said he did not feel the code should be binding.

"There's a legal or constitutional dissonance or problem," he said, noting that the rules are made by district and appellate court justices. "We would find it structurally unprecedented for district or appellate court judges to make rules that the Supreme Court would follow."

Justice Breyer said, "We do follow the rules and they do apply," but he added that, unlike in the lower courts, if a Supreme Court justice recuses himself from a case his vote cannot be replaced.

Kennedy added that if the court deadlocks 4-4 on an issue, the lower court ruling stands.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio