“And they’re off!” President Obama launched his re-election campaign today, marking what is definitely going to be a wild ride for social media in the 2012 election campaign. Obama’s launch video gives the appearance of a highly grassroots support group. in essence, he is using the people to reach out to the people. An interesting move on the part of Obama campaign managers. Obama seems determined to stay ahead of the other possible candidates in the social media arena. His campaign has already launched a Facebook application and asks if you are “in”. Obama also has an active Facebook page with 18,991,226 likes. His Twitter account has quite a following.
But, does this mean that social media is all about helping out Obama campaign? Not necessarily. It will be extremely important for the campaign managers of all candidates this election year to make sure they monitor social media as well as using it as a platform to distribute information. For instance, sites such as social mention can help them keep up with the sentiment about the campaign.
While simply having a social media presence gave Obama a bit of an edge in the 2008 campaign, the Obama social media campaign will prove much more of a challenge for the campaign managers. As seen from the social search above, not all of the comments about Mr. Obama are positive ones. Obama does have a good bit of influence in the social media arena (see Klout score below), but it will be very important that this influence be leveraged correctly. Otherwise, the magnitude of amplification for Obama’s Tweets and updates could cost him the public’s support.
We can’t help but wonder, though, how candidates from the GOP will be able to also leverage social media in their favor. Several Republican politicians who are being thrown into the pool of possible candidates are also gaining Klout.
On the Republican front, the issue with social media is very likely going to be the need for a unified front. Since President Obama is the incumbent, he is the most likely Democratic candidate. In the GOP, however, there hasn’t been a clearly identified front-runner yet and there may not be for a while. It will be interesting to see how this year will play out. 🙂
If you would like to read more about social media and the 2012 election, check out these stories:
2012 Will Be The First And Last Social Media Election Social Media & the 2012 Election Sarah Palin Leads Election 2012 GOP Field In Twitter & Facebook Followings New Red Blue Covers Social Media in the 2012 Election Cycle GOP Uses Social Media to Respond to Obama 2012 Campaign Launch