Getting social media smart?
The Republican party, represented by John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election race, lags behind Barack Obama's Democrats in online fundraising and social media, reports BusinessWeek.
Republicans have devoted most of their focus to disseminating messages on traditional venues, including on TV — which still costs plenty, but returns less audience share than in previous generations. Meanwhile, Democrats focus on engendering engagement online, attracting young and enthusiastic would-be voters, as well as a plethora of small-time donors.
Obama now boasts 1.5 million friends on Facebook and MySpace, and 43,026 Twitter followers, not to mention 850,000 fans on MyBarackObama.com, his personal social network. In contrast, McCain has 203,343 supporters across MySpace and Facebook.
To compensate for missed connections, McCain's campaign launched McCainSpace in February, a social network where users can create McCain-centric personal profiles. Commentator Michael Goldfarb was also hired to blog for McCain's website.
This month the Republicans also launched MeetBarackObama.com, a social media site that highlights Barack's weaknesses.
"There needs to be a shift in culture," said Washington consultant David All about the Republican plight. "I don't think it's too late."
"[The Obama campaign] really understood that the key to group action is sharing information," said Michael Nicholas of Carat, observing Obama's Facebook and MySpace leverage both "authenticity" and a "local" feel.
"Look at [Obama's] Twitter page," Nicholas added. "It's crazy. And he's still on it all the time!"
Early this month, analysts estimated that Obama could easily outspend McCain 3-to-1 in the last two months of the General Election race.