Over the past few years, the number of people engaging with social media has gone through the roof, and the different ways people utilize social networking platforms continues to evolve. So when election season rolled around it was no surprise that candidates, as well as the public, started taking to Twitter and Facebook to campaign and voice their opinions. Just this week, Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic Convention reportedly “broke twitter” by driving a record 28,003 tweets-per-minute, and that’s just a small portion of the 3 million tweets that were sent out that night surrounding the convention.
The Wall Street Journal caught up with Adam Sharp, Twitter's director of government, news and social innovation, at the Republican National Convention (RNC) to talk more about this trend, what some are calling the “first social campaign.”
Adam reveals what we all probably already knew: Twitter’s user engagement has grown exponentially over the past few years; however I still couldn’t help but find the statistics he shares surrounding this year’s RNC in relation to the 2008 election fascinating:
- More people sent out tweets about the Republican Convention in a single day this year than there were tweets about the entire 2008 election
- Today, more tweets are sent out every 2 days than had ever been sent out prior to 2008
- There were 1.8 million tweets sent out on election day in 2008 - today, 1.8 million tweets are sent out every 6 minutes
According to Adam, this is the first year that Twitter has a strong campaign presence: the site gives candidates, campaign members, and members of the media a platform to give a more complete picture of audience reaction and the overall experience during election events. Now, anyone has the capability to get their political views and opinions out to a large and widespread audience.
While President Obama’s Twitter account is mostly run by his campaign staff, the President has shown a pretty good understanding of social media and how the public relies on the Internet to communicate with one another - just last week he took to the Reddit forums to answer questions from the public in real-time. This kind of direct interaction with users via a social media platform is new, and really shows a shift in the way candidates are choosing to speak with the American public since the last election happened four years ago. Social media isn’t just a way for the younger generations to keep in touch anymore - it’s an important way for people to interact with each other, even the President.