Twitter and the 2012 Presidential Election

A story I’ve been following with interest the past few weeks – is how both the republican and democratic candidates are using Twitter to promote their respective campaigns.

Bothe Team Romney and Team Obama have been actively purchasing promoted tweets, the latest example being the purchase of “literarily” by the Dems after Biden left no doubt just how much, LITERALLY, he loves that word. Frankly, considering the number of half-truths and flat out falsehoods shared by both parties during their conventions, it may be a more valuable word than typically speaking – but I digress.

Obama’s camp bought “literally” so that when twitter users searched for it – they got a promoted tweet from Obama promoting Biden…promoting Obama (see below).

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It’s smart – and shows a certain sense of humor as well. Promoted tweets have been doing well for both parties.

It’s the hashtag they can’t control.

The Romney camp experienced this firsthand when they promoted the hashtag #areyoubetteroff. With an estimated ratio of 5:1 – Romney was sorely mocked. Meanwhile, Obama’s #Forward2012 has had more success – but still has naysayers in the ranks. Interestingly, hashtags that aren’t being promoted, such, as #MovingForward or #MovingForward2012 have a higher percentage of positive sentiment – likely because they aren’t as public. Anti-Obama users have a greater chance of seeing the official hashtag and as a result have a better chance of joining the conversation – which is really what hashtags are all about.

That, and Twitter users (especially those with anonymous handles) are prone to mockery. Multiple big name brands have experienced this before, ranging from Disney to the Maldives (swoon/sigh). The more general keyword, the more interpretations it can bring, which is definitely good to keep in mind.

Should the campaigns stop buying/promoting hashtags? Not necessarily, but they should pick smarter and more specific hashtags. And, make sure that they alert their supporters to keep the hashtag convo as positive as possible. A safer alternative would be dealing exclusively in promoted tweets – and keeping promoted hashtags as a defensive measure (sure the other party be bidding on their key messages etc).

Have you joined any of the political conversations on Twitter?

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