Week 10 – Emily Thibodeau

Steinhauer details how Republicans have started using Twitter as a weapon against Democratic politicians and their claims and the Blue State Digital Capabilities Overview discusses how the agency that helped Obama get elected assists it clients. Based on these two readings, the Republican Twitter-base leaves much to be desired in terms of actual results at the polls. Steinhauers’ “Republicans Embrace Twitter Hard for ’12” details how eager young GOP staffers use twitter for almost instantaneous retaliation against Democrats. The push within the party to become more active on social media has had a very real effect–giving Republicans in the House of Representatives double the followers of their Democratic counterparts. However, claims have been made that while Republicans are trying to influence the media with their aggressive hash-tagging efforts, Democrats are trying to engage the American public.

To this effect, Blue State Digital details their digital strategy that has been used by the Obama campaign, various cultural institutions, and non-partisan causes. Overall, Blue State attempts to get results by inspiring and engaging people. Strategically, they aim to build interactive campaigns across traditional and new media to build lists, revenue, and relationships. Many strategies are of note, such as PR & Outreach, ad planning, and email and text marketing. Overall, a multi-faceted strategy designed to influence and impact the lives of the targeted audience is created by Blue State. In comparison, the Republican’s new usage of Twitter seems far less influential on the public as a whole. While they have many followers on Twitter, these individuals likely already support the Republican party, and they are unlikely to engage new voters using a social media site that is not widely popular across all relevant voter demographics.

Overall, both articles make note of the use of social media. For Republicans, creating trending topics and pointing out factual mistakes are a key part of their social media usage. For Blue State, social media is one aspect in their campaigning that is targeted at engaging individuals. However, the Republicans seem overly focused on attacking Democratic claims, as opposed to diversifying their supporter base and tools used to engage the public, as Blue State attempts to. The Republican approach appears to be focusing a significant amount of man power on one specific social media site, when there are many avenues that have the potential to engage a greater voter base and use more innovative, less negative strategies. Overall, does the Republican’s use of Twitter seem to be enough to help them achieve greater results at the 2012 polls? What other aspects of voter engagement could/should Republicans use?

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