In “Republicans Embrace Twitter Hard for’12” Jennifer Steinhauer investigates how new media technology has shaped message sending in presidential elections. Specifically, she studies how Republicans have affected politics with insta-Tweets about Obama. Obama’s 2008 campaign “masterfully capitalized” on social media (1), but Obama and his campaign staff used social media websites such as “tools of outreach and organization” (2). Although there were innovations in social media tools and new media technologies between Obama’s 2008 campaign and Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, both democratic candidates depended on new media for productive purposes of promoting their campaign and facilitating interactions between supporters. This relates back to Hindman’s study about the 2004 Howard Dean Campaign when Howard Dean and his campaign staff similarly took advantage of changes in new media to increase candidate support. In his article “The Real Lessons of Howard Dean: Reflections on the First Digital Campaign,” Hindman explains how Howard Dean coordinated group activity, increased support, encouraged socialization, and fundraised with a novelty Internet campaign.
Jennifer Steinhauer relays how Republicans have joined “opposition twitter efforts” in the 2012 presidential election by criticizing Obama with insta-Tweets about his speeches, slogans, programs, etc. (2). Steinhauer highlights how Republicans currently use Twitter as a “main messaging tool” and “weapon of repetition” to oppose Obama (2). After the Republican candidate lost in the the 2008 election, Republicans began exploiting new media technology with insta-Tweets as “rapid response operations” for criticizing Obama (2). I was fascinated by Steinhauer’s evidence of how House Republicans members have “twice as many followers” and are “far more active on Twitter” than Democratic opponents (2). As the new media landscape is being revolutionized and continues to evolve, why aren’t Democratic counterparts taking advantage of these twitter efforts and criticizing Republican candidates? Do differences in Twitter consumption between Republicans and Democrats craft a negative portrayal of Republicans and how they support presidential candidates?