2012 GOP Campaign Tweets are Politics as Usual, Not Effective Social Media Strategy, NYU Steinhardt Study Shows


Master’s students within Steinhardt’s Department of Media, Culture, Communication analyzed 1,016 tweets of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. Their findings suggest that the candidates’ social media tactics rarely diverge from the traditional practice of campaign politics.

Old habits die hard…even in the Twittersphere.

In an effort to determine if certain tweeting strategies led to an increase of engagement and ultimately a boost in poll results for the four 2012 Republican Presidential front-runners, Michelle Forelle and Sarah Sullivan, master’s students within Steinhardt’s Department of Media, Culture, Communication analyzed 1,016 tweets of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. Their findings suggest that the candidates’ social media tactics rarely diverge from the traditional practice of bullhorn advertising and mudslinging on the campaign trail.

“Despite the mechanics of Twitter, which allows for easy communication between users using re-tweets and @-mention functions, we saw almost no elements of actual exchange between the GOP candidates and their followers,” Forelle explained. “When Twitter is used correctly, it sparks engagement, discourse, and conversation. We expected to see much more one-to-one interaction between the candidates and their followers given the direct accessibility that tweeting can create. This wasn’t the case.”

According to their data, which are based on public twitter feed data, the two graduate students found that generating attacks on fellow candidates and the incumbent, 500

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