Posted by: ateedub | July 27, 2008

Twitting Politicians

With 2008 as The First Campaign of the web 2.0 age, it’s interesting to look at how different campaigns are using social media. By now, we all know that Obama has an advantage over McCain simply because he personally has some familiarity with email and the Internet. Obama is tweeting (or rather, members of his campaign staff are), but McCain doesn’t have an official feed. Someone has set up a twitter feed from the John McCain polfeed site, but this does not demonstrate a commitment to social media.

Tom OKeefe demonstrates how stark the web 2.0 differences are across the board:

But what about smaller campaigns that don’t have the staff and money of a Presidential campaign?

Going down the list of states with Senate races, here’s what I found on Twitter*:

Ted Stevens (R) v. Mark Begich (D)
Stevens has no presence. Begich’s feed features his blog posts (45 updates & 85 followers). There’s a second Begich feed that appears to be anti-Begich (10 updates & 18 followers).

Bob Schaffer (R) v. Mark Udall (D)
Schaffer has an account, but nothing on it. Udall has 74 followers, but seems to only be posting every 2 months or so.

Susan Collins (R) v. Tom Allen (D)
One anti-Allen feed, only 7 updates.

Norm Coleman (R) v. Al Franken (D)
If Franken is priming his audience, I think it’s about time he get on stage. He’s got 166 followers and no posts. On the other hand, FrankenSense (pro) and FranklyFranken (anti) may be picking up the slack for him.

New Hampshire
John Sununu (R) v. Jeanne Shaheen (D)
Shaheen has an impressive 628 followers, 60 updates, but strangely is following 4,139. What’s up with that? I randomly checked 4 of the people she’s following and none were from New Hampshire.

New Mexico
Steve Pearce (R) v. Tom Udall (D)
Udall has 139 followers, and tweets like a genuine person:

Taking questions from the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau in Mescalero, NM. Met J.W., who was in my dad’s WWII squadron!

*I left the race off if neither candidate had a Twitter account.

But just the stats don’t give us the whole picture. Social media is about having a conversation. Are any of these tweeting politicians actually doing that? Tom Udall’s feed certainly takes full advantage of Twitter as a social media tool. He (or his campaign staff?) are even interacting with Twitter support staff.

Michael Whitney at TechPresident points us to an interesting example of sub-optimal use of Twitter – libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr. Unfortunately, the tone of the tweets is too advertorial, so it may not work to his advantage:

Please check out my new video and pass it on to your friends
Please Tell People About Me And Recommend That They Follow Me On Twitter! ~ Thanks
Please pass this link on
McBama two sides of the same coin – Please digg
Please tell all your friends about me and check out my website


  1. Great article! Thanks for the reference too.

    Tom O’Keefe

  2. […] doing it. But that’s not to say they’re all doing it equally well, as ATW and Mknac point […]

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