Social media in the presidential campaign

Like social media? Like politics? Chris O’Brien’s column is for you:

The differing social media strategies thus far of the Romney and Obama campaigns help illustrate the challenges and opportunities.

With the luxury of having no primary opponent and more resources, the Obama campaign has been leaving no social media stone unturned. Of course, the campaign is focused on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube.

But the campaign is also posting photos to Instagram, sharing songs on Spotify, spreading stuff on Tumblr and has hosted a Google+ “Hangout.”

Unlike 2008, when the campaign might have cut and pasted the same information in different places online, it must now figure out which content and conversations resonate on each platform while allowing the potential voters to feel like they are connecting with real people.

One of my professors, a brilliant political strategist for decades, would be very nervous about this as a political operative. “You will mess up. What about when you mess up?”

For the PR, social media, marketing types: What type of strategies would you put into place to flex the social media/community/audience muscle for the larger campaign? What would you do when you mess up?

For journalists: How would you include this material in your coverage of the campaign? What would you do when they mess up?

I’d say the first thing is to remember that Pres. Obama, Gov. Romney and Sen. Santorum — or whomever — is probably not the person running the Instagram. I’d keep that in mind. And then … ?


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