Obama and Romney reach voters like Justin Bieber reaches fans. Campaigning evolves into a social media outpour with trending Twitter comments, Facebook pictures, and Tumblr pages dedicated to promoting and discrediting this year’s presidential candidates.
President Obama has over 31,000,000 likes on Facebook, while Governor Romney has 11,000,000. On Twitter, over 21,000,000 people follow Obama; more than 1,000,000 follow Romney.
Obama’s popularity is greater, in social networks. “#Romnesia” trends on Twitter after President Obama criticized Governor Romney for conveniently forgetting conservative policies, to adopt moderate ones.
“#Savebigbird” also continues to spread over Twitter. Romney said, “I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going
to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.” (From CNS News) Opposition spread like wildfire over facebook too— currently 2 pages are dedicated to” Save Big Bird.”
“RomneyCare” is another topic infiltrating our news feed; there are 12 pages and 1 event with the phrase—approving and disapproving of RomneyCare—there are 501 “RomneyCare” likes in total. “ObamaCare” proves that it has the upper-hand with over 400,000 supporting the main page, alone.
What do all these numbers mean, and why do they matter? Rene Karlsen, for The International Journal of Government & Democracy in the Information Age writes, we are in the third stage of campaigning—the digital stage. The first 2 stages, newspapers and television, are past us.
Karlsen writes, “The differences from one campaign environment to the next related to these factors will have consequences for the nature of campaigning…” Meaning, the campaign environment changes along with campaigning itself. These changes include: “well established campaign departments”, “consumer-oriented”, and staffed by “campaign professionals.” Karlsen says that these 3 changes are a sign of permanency which suggests that modern-day campaigning is here to stay.
Globalization, as defined by Princeton is, “growth to a global or worldwide scale.” Author of, The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House, Garret Graff, write about this new type of campaigning and refers to it as globalization. Graff says writes about new types of technology severely favoring or breaking presidential candidates, “…1960—when Richard Nixon’s candidacy went sharply downhill after a series of televised debates with John F. Kennedy.”
Justin Bieber posts multiple tweets, a few hours apart. Romney and Obama do the same. Adoring fans, like faithful voters, rally to campaigns and speeches. They defend their candidate, like their favorite celebrity; they agree with policies, as they do with song lyrics.