Stats like growth in Twitter followers and average number of retweets on posts favor Mitt Romney's campaign, but President Obama's social media machine remains bigger overall.
Social Studies: Obama vs. Romney
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would like some good news, there's some to be found (if you look hard enough) in a SocialBakers analysis of the public's response to Romney versus President Barack Obama on Facebook and Twitter.
In the infographic reproduced below, you can see that Romney's fan and follower counts are growing faster than Obama's and his tweets are actually retweeted more broadly. However, for the most part these positive signs are statistical illusions, as Mike Gisondi of SocialBakers explains in a blog post on the analysis. "Barack Obama dominates both social media channels, due to the fact that he's been involved with them much longer than his contender, having successfully pioneered social media in the previous election cycle and continuing to take full advantage during his current term. Romney, on the other hand, has much higher growth rates, as he has a lot of catching up to do," Gisondi explained.
In other words, Romney's percentage growth in social media fans reflects the fact that he is starting with a much smaller base.
Romney "does get more retweet activity, because he actually tweets less," Gisondi said. "The average amount his tweets are retweeted is actually slightly higher, but Obama tweets about 10 times more."
One other thing that stands out in the graphic is a word cloud analysis showing that the thing Romney seems to be talking the most about is Barack Obama. This plays into the Democratic narrative that Romney is more against Obama than he is for any particular alternative. "Very much so," Gisondi said, pointing out that the reference in the Twitter stream is actually an @mention of "@barackobama."
"He's actually sending this to Obama's Twitter feed, trying to leverage that audience," Gisondi said.
An excerpt from the SocialBakers analysis (complete infographic, next page).
His blog post also points out that only President Obama "has mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan through Twitter (three times each), but neither candidate has mentioned Libya, Syria, or Iran since May. Romney tweeted about Israel once, criticizing Obama for not having visited there yet this term."
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