Digital Insights

Social Media Wins the Presidential Debate


Published: November 15, 2012

This past Tuesday, the nation spoke and chose the next leader of the country. While Barack Obama gets to keep the coveted 1600 Penn address, we think the real winner of the 2012 presidential election was social media.

As each year goes by, social media becomes more and more influential. Social media has become such a force that “many politicians now consider social media and well-organized internet communities as invaluable mechanisms in both their fundraising and message disseminating machines”.

Social media has the power to spread a message, raise support for a topic or issue and most importantly engage followers in discussions. These discussions can range from support of an issue, in this case a select candidate, or a forum to share negative views about the opposing position. In the 2008 election we saw social media do wonders for President Obama. Much of this success was due in large part to John McCain’s lack of presence on social media. However, in the election this past week, both candidates were actively engaged on social media. We then need to evaluate what it was Obama did right in order to dominate the social media platforms.

What Did Barack Obama Do Right?

President Obama’s campaign dominated the social media scene simply because he got there first. The Obama campaign was launched April 4th, 2011 on YouTube with the “It Begins With Us” video. Mitt Romney responds seven days later with his own YouTube video “Believe In America” which kicks off the start of his presidential campaign. This patterns of leader and follower continues until November 6th, 2012.

Barack Obama’s aggressive use of social media in swaying opinions and gaining support has paid off. He wins the election with 25 million likes on Facebook and just over 11 million followers on Twitter. Mitt Romney loses the race to the White House with 11 million likes on Facebook and just over 1 million followers on Twitter.