From reading Generating Capital with Social Media, we know that social media platforms provide an unprecedented opportunity for organizations to both grow and improve their human and organizational capital. While Harry S. Truman wasn’t tweeting to his constituents, his 1948 election was largely credited to the months he spent reaching new voters in small rural areas. This unprecedented practice proved to eventually be highly beneficial. The Chicago Tribune prematurely printed the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman!” headline after relying on polling data that promised a win from Dewey. Truman’s ability to reach new minds was largely ignored, resulting in one of the greatest media faux pas in American Political History.
In 2008, President Obama proved the same standard in that traditional media outlets were insignificant. Obama was able to set a new precedent by utilizing social media in order to reach both old and new constituents. This past Tuesday night, a new wave of presidential candidates faced off in one of the first Democratic Presidential Debates. While 2008 has long gone, and campaigning via social media more widely accepted, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has taken the world of social media by storm. While major media and news outlets have crowned Hilary Clinton the victor, Sanders surely won over the Internet.
During the 150-minute debate, Bernie Sanders gained a whopping 35, 163 new followers on Twitter. His @BernieSanders handle follower count grew by 5%, while the “winner”, @HilaryClinton’s follower count grew by less than 0.3%. In addition to the Sanders’ Twitter surge, Google Trends reported that Bernie Sanders far out-shined his competitors by both quantity and consistency via Google Search throughout the entirety of the debate.
*Search interest in Candidates from beginning to end
While Twitter and Google Trends don’t constitute a first-class ticket on Air Force One to the White House, recent trends and our assigned readings suggest that the intense amount of online interest in Sanders is not to be ignored.