Obama did it in 2008. Will Scott Brown do it in 2010?
New Media tools and Social Media tools are certainly finding their place in election campaigns. For the last few election cycles, the campaign website has been a given. What is new is the integration of new media and social media tools. This early special election in Massachusetts between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley will foretell the direction of the social media winds in the upcoming election season.
Since today is election day, I don’t know the results of the race. So, I can’t say yet if each campaigner’s online presence affected the outcome. But, I can say Scott Brown’s use of new media and social media tools has brought him from underdog status to race equal. That is clear. As I did my research for this post, there we some subjective points that mirrored the numbers. As I show the numbers below, I’ll explain my other observations. Here is a quick look at how the two campaigners stack up in the social media arena.
Scott Brown is clearly the numeric leader in the Facebook race. On election day, Martha Coakley has 17,540 fans and Scott Brown has 95,946 fans. That’s a ratio of about 5:1. What does this say? Only that Scott Brown put more effort into Facebook. When I searched for Martha Coakley’s Facebook page, I found three fan pages each with a different picture. One of the fan pages was a “negative” fan page. Another of the fan pages was in support of her, but contained negative images from “fans.”
Update: As I get ready to publish this, the two “negative” fan pages do not appear after a search. This clearly demonstrates how dynamic this online environment is.
Although Martha’s website had video on it, her real fan page did not. In contrast, Scott’s fan page did have video. For the latest post on each page, Scott had 4,394 “Like This…” and 1,225 comments. Martha 352 “Like this…” and 106 comments. Clearly, Scott Brown has far more interaction and participation with his fans in Facebook.
The story is similar in the Twitter space. Scott Brown has 12,280 Followers to Martha Coakley’s 4,073. This is a ratio of about 3:1. Both have a similar number of tweets. On the qualitative side, Martha Coakley seems to be interacting a bit more with her followers while Scott Brown appears to be using Twitter as a “broadcast” tool. Scott Brown has a very clear call to action on his twitter page. This “action image” changed to be perfectly appropriate for the day- election day. This shows me Scott Brown has an online election campaign strategy in place to leverage social media tools.
My statistics teacher would be proud that I remember “A correlation does not necessarily mean cause and effect.” If Scott Brown wins today, it does not mean he won because he leveraged social media better than Martha Coakley. It just means there is a correlation. It is something to watch. I’ll leave it to the researchers to decide whether leveraging new media and social media is the new winner in election campaign strategy.