Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney are enlisting a number of social-media tools this campaign season. But according to a study released by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, neither campaign is big on the social side of social media.
During the two-week period in June analyzed by Pew, of the 404 tweets the Obama campaign posted, 14 were retweets of "regular citizens." Of the 14 tweets the Romney campaign posted, one was a retweet.
Otherwise, there were few surprises in the results. As the incumbent -- and one who gained the White House with a digitally savvy team back in 2008 -- Mr. Obama outperforms his challenger by most measures in terms of posting and responses. In the period between June 4 through 13, the Obama camp posted 21 YouTube videos (including the most-trafficked Father's Day video featuring Michelle Obama and their daughters) to the Romney cam's 10 and 106 web/blog posts to the Romney camp's 55. Mr. Romney, however, did win in the Facebook-posting race, with 34 posts to Mr. Obama's 27.
This, of course, doesn't take into consideration any action from Super PACs on either side (an arena in which the Republicans are stronger). And, it goes without saying, the impact of social media on actual election results is debatable at best.
The use of social media, however, is a good indicator of the larger campaign as we move into the fall. Fifty percent of the Obama camp's postings dealt with domestic policy, according to Pew (the runner-up was fundraising/volunteering). Forty percent of the Romney campaign's postings dealt with domestic policy (with campaign activities next in line).
And while the economy was key to both campaigns, immigration prompted the most social-media response from Obama followers and health care prompted the most from Romney followers.
During the two-week period, neither candidate touched on the subject of foreign policy.