or not, because I’m fine with the Democrats kicking ass and taking names. But to do so might at least give them some equal footing.
Vincent Harris‘ Buzzfeed article, “Time For The Republican Party To Discover The Internet: Google is not a social network, and other elementary errors” explained how “the 2012 election proved that while a well-run digital campaign may not be enough to win you the election, a bad one can help you lose it.”
The article talks about how the Obama campaign understood a key concept I have learned in my marketing class–the most effective way to market something is by getting audiences to do the marketing for you. Harris explains that the Obama campaign knew how influential sharing photos, videos, and links on friends’ walls. At the same time, the Romney campaign largely ignored the power of creating buzz using social media, one reason being a misconception that only young people are active online (a group that tends to side with the democrats). In reality, Harris found a large percentage of the online activity surrounding Republican candidates was done by people over the age of 45.
The party showed ignorance to present day social media technologies even in their research about using social media. In fact, pollsters found “Google” to be the most used SNS because the question implied the search engine was an SNS. Had the Republican party made better use of social media, could the election have looked different? Given some push to use the already existing affordances of SNSs, it’s certainly possible that supporters could have not reached out and persuaded more peers.
The line I felt most relatable to our class, and at the same time most surprising, was this: “Facebook messages, e-mails, and tweets often talked at voters, and not with them, missing the intimacy that digital communications allows.” This may be a flaw of all social media marketing, where the intention is to drive sales and not so much to extent an identity and expand meaningful interaction. However, by only advertising to constituents, Republicans may have missed out on an opportunity to humanize their candidate. After reading Harris’ article, my advice to the Republican party for the next election is to treat social media like the real social space that it is, instead of just an up-close billboard.