Do You Actually Care About a Politician's Social-Media Presence?

Illustration for article titled Do You Actually Care About a Politicians Social-Media Presence?

Seriously. I mean, we rag on these politicians all the time for their social media gaffes, but does anyone really care? Does it matter to you, when it comes to actually punch your ballot, whether Romney's app misspelled America or Obama was a little loose with his volunteers' kinda private information?


At the end of the day, or come November, will it really even matter?

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What question could be answered in two ways...well, I could rephrase the question, but it breaks down to quantity or content.

Do I care how much of a social media presence the candidate has?

Yes, but not much. I do think it is important as a way of communicating and I think it is important that the candidates use and understand social media. It is part of understanding the world as it really is.

Do I care what the candidate says, or his advisers say on social media?

Absolutely, just as I care what they say in speeches and other statements. I want to hear more from the candidates. I want more from Romney so that he can shoot himself in the foot as often as possible. I also watch for the President to mess up, because he is the one who is supposed to understand social media, and I am a little disappointed when he seems to not understand it as well as I do (just an example).

I think that it says something about a candidate if they effectively embrace social media. Back in an election that most of you weren't alive for (I was alive, but only 3 years old), in 1960 there was a televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon. Those who listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon had pretty much carried it, but on TV, Kennedy completely carried the debate and it was seen as a big step in his winning the election.

Television was a new thing in 1960. Twenty years later, and actor proved that you could be a two term president by acting the part. I hate Ronald Reagan, but he did a tremendous job (over all) in controlling the media, especially TV. Do any of you remember the revelation that the pilots of Marine One were ordered to rev the engine as the presidents walked onto the helicopter? This was done because Reagan wasn't good off the cuff, that is when there was no script. He answered a couple of questions shouted as he walked onto the helo that weren't the best, and after the change, the question would be shouted and he would hold a hand up to his ear to signal that he couldn't hear the question. It was a masterful job of controlling the media.

In the 21st Century, social media are the equivalent of TV in the 60s, the new thing, and use of social media and the internet were a big advantage to Barack Obama in the 2008 election. Unfortunately, a totally scripted use of social media comes across as artificial and isn't perfect either, but what candidates do with social media is incredibly important.