Twitter War

Not all criticism is constructive which is definitely true in the Republicans’ use of Twitter in 2012 to contradict statements Democratic political figures said during speeches.  “Republicans Embrace Twitter Hard for ‘12” by Jennifer Steinhauer points out the differences in goals between Republicans and Democrats use of Twitter during 2012.  After the success of Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign with his use of social media sites, the Republicans used his example and eventually Republican house members had twice as many followers as the Democrats with many more individual tweets as well at the time.   The difference is that the Republicans were tweeting in hopes of catching the attention of a reporter, and the Democrats were mainly trying to get the American citizens’ attention.  As Dave Karpf talks about in “Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns,” these tactical measures of how many followers the Republicans had compared to the Democrats might have been poor indicators of strategic measures because of Obama’s reelection in 2012.

Republicans thought they were doing well on social media sites in 2012 because they had more followers and tweets than Democrats.  They would pick apart things that Democrats said and find policies or prior statements to contradict them.  Their tactic was to get an influential reporter to write about something they tweeted.  Reporters may have more influence than the everyday person, but the chances that they could take a 140-character statement and make it into a story seems a bit far-fetched.  Furthermore, reporters are a much smaller population than the American people whom the Democrats were tweeting for, and when it comes down to it, a larger audience most likely means more support and votes.  Twitter is just one of the many social media sites out there used in campaigns; this example was most likely relevant to other social media platforms the Republicans used during the 2012 campaign and was a strategic miss for them.

Do you believe the Republicans use of Twitter to try and capture the attention of reporters was a smart idea on their end or should they have tried to tweet for a more general audience like the Democrats?  Do you think these tactical measures ultimately lead them to misinterpret their strategic success?

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1 Response to Twitter War

  1. jlpirr says:

    I think that the Republican behaviors on Twitter could have had an impact on misinterpreting their success, but I don’t think that their strategy was all wrong. In class today, Lauren Miller told us that in campaigns they target two kinds of people: the press and the undecided. They know that they are going to have to sway voters, and they also know that the people who already support them are secure. The press is a main factor in helping to sway undecided voters, so by trying to get reporters to pick up stories from the Republicans, they were not that far off from Lauren Miller’s statement. I think that the Republicans should have been more strategic with their actual tweets, and that they should have also tried to target the press in other ways, not just on Twitter. You’re right, it would be very hard to write a story based on a 140 character statement, so it was important for the Republicans to use other outlets. If they were able to explain themselves better then maybe more reporters would have picked up their stories and more undecided voters would have changed their opinions.

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