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1 International Conference PRSSA meeting Social Media and the 2012 Election Larry Parnell George Washington University David Almacy Edelman Joe Garofoli San Francisco Chronicle

2 Agenda Introductions and Overview Remarks Larry Parnell Associate Professor Strategic PR - GW Graduate School of Political Management Social Media and the 2012 campaign.. to date David Almacy, SVP - Edelman (Washington, DC) Discussion and Q&A

3 Discussion Starters: Social Media Factoids 2/3 of Americans use a Social network (August 2012) 1 in 7 people on the worldwide are on Face Book = 7 Billion! (Facebook data) 15% of Americans are on Twitter and actively tweet (August 2012)

4 Social Media Overview

5 Conversation Prism..everything is filtered through one of more channels

6 Social Media, Fundraising and the 2012 Election Why target on line voters? Social Media users are: More politically oriented Facebook: users 2x more likely (than non-users) to be engaged in politics More active 5x more likely to recruit friends to join campaigns/vote (FB) Well connected People on Twitter average 840 connections (Twitter) Raise more money for causes/candidates than non-users Campaigns using social media get 40% more responses/donations than traditional campaigns (Source: Frank Barry, NPEngage blog September 2012)

7 Who s Winning on Line? Obama Beats Romney in Internet Savvy & Social Media Forbes (Sept 2012) According to a Google survey, President Obama beat out Republican contender Mitt Romney in a poll {Google users} over which of the two is more adept at social media and online persuasion.

8 How are they doing? Obama And Romney's Biggest Social-Media Fails: Social media has changed the election game forever by shining a continual light, from every possible direction, on every move a high-profile candidate makes. Examples: Tweets and re-tweets about attacks on US embassy in Syria; Big Bird; Paul Ryan s marathon times; etc..

9 2008 vs election There was a lot of talk post-'08 about it being the social media election. But the reality is, Twitter (only) launched during the last campaign, and Facebook had less than 100 million users. We were at the very beginning of what it meant to be social. Michael Slaby, Obama campaign official quoted in Computerworld magazine

10 9 Concrete, Specific Things We Actually Know About How Social Media Shape Elections Atlantic magazine

11 Nine things we know. 1.People and campaigns mostly use social media for dissemination, not dialogue. "Neither campaign (Obama and Romney) has made much use of the social aspects of social media." Pew's study, (August 2012) describes social media use in 2012 election as "mainly as a way to push messages out" without having to pass those messages through a journalistic filter.

12 Nine things we know 2. Campaign websites remain the hub of US Presidential campaigns. Pew research: Even if someone starts on a campaign's social network page, they often end up back on the main website-to donate money, to join a community, to volunteer or to read anything of length.

13 Nine things we know 3. Non-major parties tend to converse more on Twitter and FB... While "elites" (meaning the major political parties) dominated both networks by volume, the "non-elite" (minor) parties appear more active in both. Example: third party candidates or outliers (e.g. Paul Rand) engage more than mainstream parties, according to the research

14 Nine things we know.. 4. Elite journalists converse, too -- with each other on Social Media particularly Twitter 5. There's a high potential for non-elite, anonymous users to succeed (and get retweeted/quoted). Twitter's allows anonymous writers to participate: to share a link before anyone else, to snark during Presidential debates (e.g. Big Bird) or to vent while about election results.

15 Nine things we know 6. *Discussion tends to happen around news events that are already being covered..big spikes are tied to televised debates, wellcovered rallies or the election itself. Social media may democratize who gets to participate, but its aggregate decisions about what's news align pretty well with what the mainstream media think is news.

16 Nine things we know 7. What remains special about social media is that non-elite users control distribution. Elites -- the candidates, but also the broadcast journalists -- dominated as the subject of the videos and as the makers of the videos. But "nonelite" people had posted (or re-tweeted) almost all the videos.

17 Nine things we know 8. Participating more in political discussion online doesn't necessarily increase political knowledge. political Facebook group users, in general, often do not share much new information and the information they do share tends to be somewhat inaccurate, incoherent, or not very well supported with evidence... people easily engage and share their opinions, so online political groups are beneficial; however, as a forum to learn new political information online political groups are ineffective.

18 Nine things we know.. 9. The effect social media will have in these elections, then, is that they allow non-elites to frame and distribute content made by elites. The biggest change that can occur, then, is that framing by social media can shift how the professional media itself frames stories. Social media feeds the loop of news judgment.* Source: ( 9 Concrete, Specific Things We Actually Know About How Social Media Shapes Elections, Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic.com blog)

19 Almacy slides here

20 Summary 2012 vs campaigns - major differences in volume, scale and type of interaction Social media is very effective at raising money Lots of people are talking, but is anyone listening? Questions to dicuss: - Who is doing the most effective job on line? - Will the outcome of the 2012 election be (more or less) attributable to a candidate s social media effectiveness? - What can we learn from this process and apply in nonpolitical situations (e.g. fundraising, advocacy, media relations and PR campaigns)?

21 International Conference San Francisco Contact: Larry David

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