Saturday 03 December 2016

Capitol Tweets: Overview of Social Media in the 2012 Campaigns

NOTE: This is the first part of a special Capitol Tweets post-election series.

One month ago today, an estimated 126 million Americans cast their votes in the 2012 election. Social media took center stage throughout the campaign as a location for important candidate announcements, real-time advertising battles and direct communication with voters. Both presidential candidates invested heavily in digital, following in the footsteps of the 2008 Obama campaign, which mobilized the Democratic base through innovative use of the Internet and social channels.

This time around, social media was no longer an untested tool. To fight the battle online, Mitt Romney employed a 120-person digital team, while Barack Obama spent upwards of $47 million on online advertising.  The presidential campaigns set the pace for social media use throughout the 2012 election and garnered a great deal of attention, both good and bad. However, candidates at every level of American politics – including those in Congressional  and local races – also took advantage of social media’s low barrier to entry and direct lines of communication with potential voters.

The 2012 election set social records a number of times over. The timeline below provides some social media highlights from the campaign trail, focusing primarily on the last couple of months leading up to Election Day.

This is just the first post in a Capitol Tweets-themed election blog series.  In the coming weeks, posts will dive deeper into social media’s impact on the debates and the campaign trail, as well as social media use by Congressional incumbents. Stay tuned!

This post was written by Marcia Newbert and Kara McIver.

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